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Docent Lecture: "Revelations: Art from the African American South", by Martha Walker

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Jessie T. Pettway (b. 1929), Bars and String-Pieced Columns, 1950s

Jessie T. Pettway (b. 1929), Bars and String-Pieced Columns, 1950s. Cotton plain weave; peieced and quilted, 95 x 76 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2017.1.42. © 2017 Jessie T. Pettway / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Koret Auditorium

Revelations: Art from the African American South celebrates the museum's major acquisition from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta of 62 works by contemporary African American artists from the Southern United States.

The cultural origins of these artworks can be traced back to the African Diaspora, slavery, and the Jim Crow era of institutionalized racism, which restricted both physical freedom and freedom of expression for African Americans. Despite these barriers, in the segregated and comparatively safe spaces of churches and cemeteries, as well as in the fields and forests, African Americans created a cultural language that led to the evolution of distinctly African American musical forms such as gospel, blues, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll.

These rich musical traditions were paralleled by visual traditions that typically were symbolic in form or concealed from view in order to escape censure or destruction. Working with little or no formal training, and often employing cast-off objects and unconventional materials, these artists have created visually compelling works that address some of the most profound and persistent issues in American society, including race, class, gender, and religion.

Ticket Information

Free. No reservations.


Contact Information

Docent Council
docent@famsf.org
(415) 750-3638