Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties
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Over 100 works by African American artists and others from the 1960s Civil Rights Movement show powerful responses in art to events of black history. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Witness accompanies an exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum and demonstrates the array of aesthetic strategies through which 1960s artists engaged in the struggle for racial justice. Personal recollections from artists including Mark di Suvero and Jack Whitten intertwine with rich illustration, engaging essays, and documentary photos—including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and freedom marchers on the Selma-to-Montgomery March, and Gordon Parks’s photos of the Black Panther Party and Muhammad Ali—along with a comprehensive chronology of the period from 1954 to the 1970s.
African American artists featured include Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, David Hammons, and Melvin Edwards. Represented as well are notable artists who recorded aspects of the Civil Rights struggle, including Richard Avedon, Bruce Davidson, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, and Philip Guston. This collection of emotionally resonant artworks lets us see the Civil Rights movement with new eyes and is a fitting tribute to a turbulent period in history, whose struggles continue to shape America.
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