Racial Violence and Resilience: Questions and Currents in African American Art

January 13, 2016 - February 21, 2016

Man's head against flowery background

This special installation in the Ackland’s second floor Study Gallery presents 20 prints, paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures from the Ackland’s extensive and growing collection of art by African American artists. The selection addresses pressing debates that have reverberated across campus and the nation this year, focusing on three interrelated themes: representations of racial violence, resilience, and the role of religious faith as both a justification for violence and a source of resistance.

Works by the following African American artists are included: Willie Cole, Aaron Douglas, Ellen Gallagher, Barkley Hendricks, Jacob Lawrence, Glenn Ligon, Gordon Parks, Renee Stout, Mose Tolliver, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, and Hale Woodruff. In addition, a painting by Gertrude Abercrombie is on display.

Curated by John Bowles — associate professor, Art Department, UNC-Chapel Hill and an affiliate faculty member of the Institute of African American Research — the installation has been made possible by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Trust. It is presented as part of a coordinated focus on collections of African American Art undertaken by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Art Museum at North Carolina Central University.

A jointly sponsored panel on Collecting and Presenting Work by Artists of African Descent” will be held at the Nasher Museum of Art on February 11, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Speakers include Holland Cotter, art critic for the New York Times; Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Pamela Joyner, art collector, San Francisco; Jack Shainman, owner of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; and Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Kehinde Wiley, American, born 1977: Study for Idrissa Ndiaye, 2007; oil wash on paper. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ackland Fund, 2008.7. © 2007 Kehinde Wiley.