African American Art in the 20th Century Exhibition Overview!

Written By Chief Curator Barbara Jones

This traveling exhibition, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, presents 45 works dating from the 1930s to the 1990s by 34 black artists. These painters, sculptors, and printmakers participated in the multifaceted dialogues …

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Loïs Mailou Jones’ Moon Masque

Loïs Mailou Jones’ “Moon Masque,” 1971, is a stunning piece of vibrant color and striking design. Masklike profiles and designs drawn from Ethiopian textiles surround a papier-mâché replica of a heart-shaped white Kwele mask from Zaire.

Though stylized, the faces …

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Sargent Johnson’s Mask

Internationally renowned sculptor Sargent Johnson was committed to creating positive representations of African Americans and focused on celebrating black female beauty through his work.

“It is the pure American Negro I am concerned with, aiming to show the natural beauty …

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Felrath Hines’ Red Stripe with Green Background

Felrath Hines’ “Red Stripe with Green Background,” with its tight geometric lines and bright hues, plays with the viewer’s perception. Red, yellow, and blue horizontal stripes separate a green gradient. A white pyramid bounded by black pierces the green plane …

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Beauford Delaney’s Can Fire in the Park

Beauford Delaney’s Can Fire in the Park, a swirling vignette of thickly applied paint in vivid hues, captures an urban scene of a group of men huddling around an open fire in a New York park.

Delaney developed vocabulary …

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Palmer Hayden’s The Janitor Who Paints

Artist Palmer Hayden’s The Janitor Who Paints features the common theme of an artist in his studio, but in 1969, he described this painting as “a sort of protest painting” of his own economic and social standing as well as …

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Melvin Edwards’ Tambo

Today we wanted to take a moment and look at artist Melvin Edwards’ Tambo, created in 1933, to commemorate Oliver Tambo, who died the same year. Tambo was the president of the African National Congress (ANC), who, with Nelson …

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Norman Lewis’ Evening Rendezvous

Artist Norman Lewis often claimed that art could not help solve society’s problems, but Evening Rendezvous is a painting making a strong social commentary.

The small white marks emerging from gray twilight resemble hooded figures, gathered around a bonfire suggested …

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Thornton Dial Sr.’s Top of the Line (Steel)

As a way to help facilitate open dialogue on our social media channels, we will continue to feature artworks in our current exhibitions and collection that directly invite us to reflect, confront, and examine our nation’s history of racial inequities.

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Art Making Activity: “Moon Masque”

#MuseumFromHome Art Making Activity
inspired by Loïs Mailou Jones’ “Moon Masque”

From The Westmoreland’s Studio Programs Coordinator Michael Carsone (a.k.a. The Quarantine Crafter)

Join us in creating this all ages #MuseumFromHome Art Making Activity, inspired by Loïs Mailou Jones’ Moon

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