Final weeks to see prints by African American women artists


March 26, 2015

Exhibition of classic and experimental works by women ends April 12

Allentown, PA—A colorful and at times provocative exhibition of African American art that spans the period from the Civil Rights Era to the present day comes to an end at the Allentown Art Museum on Sunday, April 12. Interventions in Printmaking: Three Generations of African American Women features artists from throughout the United States and the African diaspora who have brokered new technologies and approaches to printmaking while addressing issues pertaining to history, identity, and politics. In works ranging from the representational to the abstract, this diverse group of women has enriched the print medium with their brilliantly drafted lithographs, colorful etchings and silk-screens, and conceptually rich photographs.

The first section of the exhibition features artists born prior to World War II who achieved critical acclaim during the 1960s and 1970s, including Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), Betye Saar (b. 1926), Faith Ringgold (b. 1934), Mary Lee Bendolph (b. 1935), and Emma Amos (b. 1938), the only female member of Spiral, the legendary collective of black artists that gathered at Romare Bearden’s studio in the early 1960s.

The next generation of artists further explored printmaking and its capacities, some employing the language of abstraction. Margo Humphrey (b. 1942) and Robin Holder (b. 1952) fuse autobiographical narratives with critical reflections on society in work created at the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, NM, and Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York, NY, Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) and Deborah Willis (b. 1948) emerged as major photographers and joined traditional typographic processes with photographic transfers. Alison Saar (b. 1956) followed in the footsteps of her mother, Betye, integrating African forms with Latin American and Caribbean traditions. Chakaia Booker (b. 1953), Mary Lovelace O’Neal (b. 1942), and Louisiana Pettway Bendolph (b. 1960) created compelling abstractions with dynamic colors and rich textures, collaborating with internationally known printers to produce technically complex works.

The exhibition is curated by Museum president and CEO David Mickenberg and Dr. Daniel Haxall, associate professor of Art History at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. A former fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Dr. Haxall received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University and has published on diverse topics, including Abstract Expressionism, collage, installation art, corporate patronage, the African diaspora, and intersections of sports and art. He previously taught at the University at Buffalo and Penn State University, and has lectured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Harvard University, New York University, National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and College Art Association among others. He is curating a forthcoming exhibition on Robert Motherwell for the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente in Segovia, Spain, and preparing a book on Abstract Expressionist collage.

Press Images and Media Contact: High-resolution publicity images are available by contacting Chris Potash, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, at cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org.