Soul of a Nation:
Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983

Curated by Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley


Venues & dates: Tate Modern, London
July 12–October 22, 2017
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK
February 3–April 23, 2018
Brooklyn Museum, NY
September 7, 2018–February 3, 2019

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power was first presented at Tate Modern in 2017, travelling to venues in the US for the next two years.  The exhibition text explains the very decisive timeline, with the show opening in 1963, “at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration”. The curators continue to explain that in the wake of this movement “emerged more militant calls for Black Power: a rallying cry for African American pride, autonomy and solidarity, drawing inspiration from newly independent African nations. Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting, and confounding expectations. Their momentum makes for an electrifying visual journey. Vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures made with Black hair, melted records, and tights – the variety of artworks reflects the many viewpoints of artists and collectives at work during these explosive times. Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting. This landmark exhibition is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.”

Blood (Donald Formey), 1975 by Barkley L. Hendricks