From the Archive: Two Centuries of Black American Art
From the Director
LACMA is proud to make available online its archive for the landmark exhibition Two Centuries of Black American Art, organized by the museum in 1976 with guest curator David Driskell. Two Centuries powerfully demonstrated the contributions of black artists to American art and art history from 1750 to the mid-twentieth century. It also successfully engaged the African American community in Los Angeles, whose leaders had rightly pressured LACMA to better emphasize black art and artists in significant ways at the museum. Not only was the exhibition supported with major sponsorship by Phillip Morris, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities, but Driskell’s exhibition catalogue became a standard textbook on the subject. In addition, the museum’s accompanying programs for the exhibition set new standards for audience outreach: as one trustee recalled “the exhibition made LACMA a place where the Black community knew it was welcome for the first time.”
Two Centuries of Black American Art (1976) joins two other historic LACMA exhibitions already featured on lacma.org: Edward Kienholz’s Back Seat Dodge ‘38 (1965) and Art and Technology (1971), part of the LACMA archives program. These online presentations document LACMA’s institutional history and its role in Los Angeles, which historically have expanded through groundbreaking exhibitions and public programs and today also encompass such initiatives as conserving and promoting the preservation and significance of Watts Towers.
Michael Govan | CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director
As part of the museum’s ongoing archives program, LACMA is in the process of revisiting a landmark exhibition of African-American art from 1976. EntitledTwo Centuries of Black American Art, this seminal show is acknowledged as the first comprehensive museum exhibition of African American Art. My department has been busy describing, documenting, and digitizing key details about this exhibition which will be posted on lacma.org as a service to researchers and the public...
As mentioned in a past post, we are currently preparing to present online materials from LACMA’s archive for its landmark 1976 exhibition, Two Centuries of Black American Art. To accompany the primary exhibition materials that will be digitally accessible for the first time, we have developed related content to provide further art historical and institutional context for this historic exhibition. One feature I’m particularly excited about is the list of works by African American artists in LACMA’s permanent collection...