Faith Ringgold, American People Series #20: Die (1967)
© Faith Ringgold / ARS, NY and DACS, London, courtesy ACA Galleries, New York 2021. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY
The New Museum in New York will hold the first retrospective devoted to the pioneering American artist Faith Ringgold in February next year, titled American People (until June 2022). The exhibition spans six decades of her prolific career, from works created in response to the Civil Rights and the second-wave feminist movements to autobiographical works that tell stories of the Harlem Renaissance.The Harlem-born artist, aged 90, is acclaimed for her referential piecework quilts and paintings that recount Black histories and examine racial and gender hierarchies in the arts. The show includes well-known pieces like the mural American People Series #20: Die (1967)—which was recently installed alongside Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) at the Museum of Modern Art. The work, made in 1967 amid widespread race riots in the US, depicts a blood-spattered scene, aiming to evoke Picasso’s Guernica (1937). The show also includes lesser-known pieces like the paintings Ringgold made in the 1970s on unstretched canvas, which have ornate fabric borders inspired by Tibetan thangkas. The works laid the foundation for the celebrated story quilts Ringgold began making in the 1980s and 1990s that reference the quilting traditions of enslaved Africans, including her own relatives. The exhibition features a presentation of works from a solo exhibition Ringgold had at the New Museum in 1998, titled Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold’s French Collection and Other Story Quilts. The show brought together two series of quilt paintings: The French Collection, which tells the fictional story of a Black artist in 1920s Paris, and the American Collection, in which the artist’s daughter becomes an artist in postwar America.The retrospective follows a major presentation currently on view at the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland (until 24 October) that traveled from the Serpentine in London and marked Ringgold’s first presentation in a European institution.