“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983” is a brilliant and long-overdue focus on the works of both renowned and underrepresented black artists, especially those active from about 1963 to 1985, and presented through the prism of the civil rights movement. “Soul of a Nation” originated at London’s Tate Modern before hitting Crystal Bridges and the Brooklyn Museum on its way to Los Angeles, its final engagement.
It will be on view at the Broad in downtown from March 23 through Sept. 1. Tickets go on sale this Friday, Feb. 1, at noon.
Timed-entry tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students, free for children 17 and under, and as always will include same-day general admission to third-floor permanent collection galleries.
Note: There will be free admission every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. during the exhibition run.
It’s unclear whether a rush of online ticketing demand will break the system the way the Yayoi Kusama frenzy did last time, but it really should. Featuring the work of some 60 artists across painting, sculpture, street photography and murals, this landmark show has garnered both critical and popular support all along its tour. It arrives in L.A. amid a huge amount of anticipation and high expectations given the centrality of L.A. to the seminal story it examines.
Soul of a Nation examines the influences on, and legacies of, titanic artists such as Romare Bearden, Barkley L. Hendricks, Noah Purifoy, Martin Puryear, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, Charles White and William T. Williams. Following on the Tate Modern’s original curating, each institution has put its stamp on the show, with certain works on view tapped from their own permanent or regional partners’ collections. The Broad presentation is curated by Sarah Loyer, associate curator and exhibitions manager, and as we would hope, Los Angeles–based artists appear prominently throughout.
Betye Saar is spotlighted in an installation referencing her first survey show, in 1973 at Cal State L.A. Charles White, David Hammons and Timothy Washington are featured in a revisitation of the 1971 LACMA exhibition “Three Graphic Artists.” And a special section examines the after-effects of the Watts Rebellion, particularly in the assemblage-centric work of Melvin Edwards, Daniel LaRue Johnson, John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, John T. Riddle and Betye Saar.
Opening weekend coincides with a daylong symposium on March 23 (10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo) featuring a powerhouse lineup of scholars, artists and authors including poet Kamau Daáood, scholar and one-time ANC member Frank Wilderson, curators Thelma Golden (Studio Museum) and Naima Keith (CAAM), and film director Ava DuVernay. The next day, there’s a talk with the original organizing curators Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley (both of the Tate Modern) on March 24 (2 p.m. at the Broad’s Oculus Hall).
In association with “Soul of a Nation,” Art + Practice presents the group show “Time Is Running Out of Time: Experimental Film and Video from the L.A. Rebellion and Today,” on view Feb. 2-Sept. 14 in Leimert Park. “Time Is Running Out of Time…” examines the innovation and legacy of black video artists active in Los Angeles in the 1960s through the '80s, as well as their influence on subsequent generations, showing historical and in some cases more contemporary work from members of the film arts collective known as L.A. Rebellion alongside newer voices in the community and the genre.