About the Exhibition
Artist, author, educator, and organizer Faith Ringgold is one of the most influential cultural figures of her generation, with a career linking the multidisciplinary practices of the Harlem Renaissance to the political art of young Black artists working today. Faith Ringgold: American People presents the most comprehensive assessment to date of the artist’s impactful vision. For 60 years, Ringgold has drawn from personal autobiography and collective histories to both document her life as an artist and mother and to amplify collective struggles for social justice and equity. From creating some of the most indelible artworks of the civil rights era to challenging accepted hierarchies of art versus craft, Ringgold has produced a body of work that bears witness to the complexity of the American experience.
Featuring Ringgold’s best-known series—such as her experimental story quilts, renowned painting series American People and Black Light, soft sculptures, performance objects, and ephemera related to her activist work—the exhibition examines the artist’s figurative style as it evolved to meet the urgency of political and social change. The exhibition also foregrounds her radical explorations of gender and racial identities, which the artist incorporates into the rich textures of her paintings, soft sculptures, and story quilts. Among the most important artworks of the past half century, Ringgold’s fabric works combine local traditions and global references to compose a polyphonic history of this country. The MCA’s presentation of Faith Ringgold: American People also includes a section with works from the MCA’s collection that contextualizes Ringgold’s wide-ranging practice in art history with works by artists either influenced by or in conversation with Ringgold or themes in her work. Long overdue, this retrospective provides a timely opportunity to experience the art of an American icon.
The MCA presentation of Faith Ringgold: American People is curated by Jamillah James, Manilow Senior Curator, with Jack Schneider, Assistant Curator. The exhibition was originally organized by the New Museum, New York, and curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, and Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator, with Madeline Weisburg, Curatorial Assistant.
The exhibition is presented in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art on the museum’s fourth floor.
Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Zell Family Foundation, Cari and Michael Sacks, and R.H. Defares.
Major support is provided by Ellen-Blair Chube, DIOR, Susie L. Karkomi and Marvin Leavitt, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, Northern Trust, Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund, Robin Loewenberg Tebbe and Mark Tebbe, and Charlotte Cramer Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III of the Wagner Foundation.
Generous support is provided by Katherine Mann and Mitchell Lederer, Cheryl and Eric McKissack, D. Elizabeth Price and Lou Yecies, and Karyn and Bill Silverstein.
This exhibition is supported by the MCA’s Women Artists Initiative, a philanthropic commitment to further equity across gender lines and promote the work and ideas of women artists.
Lead support for this exhibition at the New Museum, New York has been provided by The Henry Luce Foundation. Major support for this exhibition has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, Glenstone, and the Robert Lehman Foundation.