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Riffs and Relations


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About the Author

Adrienne L. Childs is an associate of the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard University.Renee Maurer is an associate curator at the Phillips Collection, in Washington, D.C.Valerie Cassel Oliver is the curator of modern and contemporary art at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond. Dorothy Kosinski is the Vradenburg Director & CEO of the Phillips Collection.


"This show couldn't have arrived at a better time. Right after the MoMA reopened, making a huge splash by rethinking the canon, including placing work by African American artists in striking juxtaposition with modern masters...the Phillips Collection is organizing a show dedicated to further articulating these often-powerful connections. Shaking up the narrative of Modern art is no easy task. Guest curator Adrienne Childs explores how artists like Romare Bearden and Robert Colescott reimagined canonical works of European art in their depictions of African American life. Working in the vein of Modern abstractionists, artists Alma Thomas and Martin Puryear are celebrated for creating an aesthetic language for African American artists that challenged the racial politics hounding black art at the time....And these are only a few examples of the African American heavyweights in this show, who are set alongside Modern art luminaries. As investigations into the true narrative (or narratives) of Modern art continue, this show will provide a much-needed jolt of energy in the rebooting of the canon." -ARTAGENCYPARTNERS.COM

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