Barkley L. HendricksWhat's Goin On, 1974Oil, acrylic, and magna on cotton canvas65 3/4 x 83 3/4 in.© Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the artist’s estate and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power This landmark exhibition features artworks by more than 60 Black artists, including Romare Bearden, Melvin Edwards, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Charles White, Alvin Loving, Alma Thomas, and Lorraine O’Grady.


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way

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During the rise of the Black Power movement, many Black artists were asking fundamental questions about their role: Should a work of art communicate a direct political message? Could it be abstract? What audience should be addressed? Is there a ‘Black art’ or a ‘Black aesthetic’?

Soul of a Nation—organized by the Tate Modern, and debuting in the US at Crystal Bridges—is a look at how American culture was reshaped through the work of Black artists during the tumultuous 1960s, ‘70s, and early ‘80s. The exhibition features more than 150 artworks, beginning with works by the Spiral group, a New York-based collective who opened up questions of the role of artists in the Civil Rights movement. From there, the exhibition traces the impact of the growing Black Power movement on Black artists, and explores the many ways these artists worked to protest discrimination, rally people to their cause, and celebrate Black culture.