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Macy's Presents American Artists of Color

January 15 - April 10, 2011



Macy's Presents American Artists of Color, on exhibit January 15 tjrough April 10, 2011, features works from Huntington Museum of Art's permanent collection.

This exhibition, drawn from the Museum's permanent collection, presents works by African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American artists either from or working in the United States. The exhibition will include paintings, prints and sculpture dating from the early years of the 20th century up to the present. Artists include Henry Ossawa Tanner, Yasuo Kunioshi, and Enrique Chagoya, among others.

Another exhibit, Elaine Blue: The Performance opened on Dec. 18, 2010, and continues through April 10, 2011, at the Huntington Museum of Art. The exhibit by Blue, who is a Huntington resident and Clarksburg native, features recent work by the artist.

An opening reception for both Macy's Presents American Artists of Color and the exhibit titled "Elaine Blue: The Performance" will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. The opening reception will feature a poetry reading of works by Elaine Blue, read by Carolyn Thomas, who is an actress, writer and director. Refreshments will be served following the poetry reading. Admission to the opening reception is free.


Images from Macy's Presents American Artists of Color


(above: Tom Nakashima, American, Turkish Brick Mason, 1976. Oil and magna on canvas. Funds provided by Exhibition 280, 1976.32)


(above: Dilmus Hall (American, 1900-1988), Crucifixion, 1930-40, Wood, cloth, paint, clay. Gift of Robert B. Egelston, 1991.46.7)

Dilmus Hall was an African American self-taught artist from Athens, Georgia. He is best known for both small and large-scale sculptures created out of concrete, found and scrap pieces of wood, and drawings executed in colored pencil and crayon. His subject matter includes simple, charming depictions of animals and humans, and ambitious allegorical and religious narrative scenes, including a few of important figures from local history.

Hall was a deep thinker, a philosopher, and a man of fierce faith. He believed that the teachings and happenings in the Bible were never far from contemporary life. Hall's oeuvre includes a large number of sensitive and powerful depictions of the crucifixion, many of which use a simplified, tripartite, y-shaped cross. This symbolic shape closely relates to a root sculpture constructed of a found twisted branch, scraps of wood, metal, nails and paint c. 1940 (now part of the William S. Arnett Collection), that Hall always referred to as his personal emblem.


(above: Henry Ossawa Tanner (American, 1859-1937), Birthplace of Joan of Arc at Domrémy-la-Puccelle, 1918, Oil on wood panel. Funds provided by the Sarah Wheeler Charitable Trust in memory of Harold R. (Steve) Wheeler and Sarah Slack Wheeler, 2008.2)

Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1859 to Sarah Miller, a former slave, and Benjamin Tucker, a Bishop in the AME Church, Henry Ossawa Tanner eventually became one of the first black students at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, studying under Thomas Eakins. Tanner moved to Europe in 1891 to escape racial prejudices. He became the first African American artist to achieve an international reputation. He won a gold medal at the 1897 Salon; the Louvre subsequently bought his Raising of Lazarus (1897) to hang in its waiting room. Though he remained in France for most of his life and returned to the US only for brief visits, Tanner was elected to New York's National Academy of Design in 1909; he was the first full member of African descent. His work was widely exhibited in both Europe and the US.

During the First World War, Tanner, then 58 years old, joined the American Red Cross in France in December 1917, serving as a lieutenant in the Farm and Garden section, developing and implementing a plan for convalescing soldiers to farm the lands surrounding hospitals. This painting depicts Joan of Arc's house, which was used as a hospital during the War. This building became an important icon for Tanner at the time, symbolizing a place where he could help his native country and France at the same time. In 1923 he received the Légion d'Honneur from the French government.


(above: Alison Saar (American, b. 1956), Lost Boys, 2008, Etching, ribbon. Museum purchase, 2009.3)

Alison Saar was born into a family of artists. Her mixed-media sculptures, installations and prints examine African American and feminine identity and diverse spiritual traditions. Alison studied art and art history at Scripps College in Claremont, California where she became interested in African, Latin American and Caribbean art and religion. She also received an MFA from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California.

This print references the "Lost Boys of Sudan" more than 27,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups displaced and or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). Most of the boys were orphaned or separated from their families when government troops systematically attacked villages in southern Sudan killing many of the inhabitants, most of whom were civilians. The younger boys survived in large numbers because they were away tending herds or able to escape into the nearby jungles. Orphaned and with no support, they would make epic journeys lasting years across the borders to international relief camps in Ethiopia and Kenya evading thirst, starvation, wild animals, insects, disease, and one of the most bloody wars of the 20th century. Experts say they are the most badly war-traumatized children ever examined.


Image from Elaine Blue: The Performance

(above: Elaine Blue, Weather Station, Acrylic, ink on canvas, 2010. Courtesy of the Artist.)


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