This exhibition shines a bright light on the vital contribution of Black artists made over two decades, beginning in 1963 at the height of the civil rights movement, with a unique-to-L.A. special focus on L.A. artists in the show. Soul of a Nation explores how social justice movements, as well as stylistic evolutions in visual art (such as Minimalism and abstraction), were powerfully expressed in the work of artists including Romare Bearden, Barkley Hendricks, Noah Purifoy, Martin Puryear, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, Charles White, and William T. Williams. Los Angeles-based artists appear throughout Soul of a Nation, and more deeply in three specific galleries, foregrounding the significant role of Los Angeles in the art and history of the civil rights movement and the subsequent activist era, and the critical influence and sustained originality of the city’s artists, many of whom have lacked wider recognition.
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