Events

How Black Artists Mobilized in 1970s Los Angeles

In a panel discussion, some of these artists look back on how African American arts professionals and Black-owned galleries exhibited their work and promoted their careers.

Black Arts Council with Suzanne Jackson third from right, and Black Arts Council co-founder Cecil Ferguson seated, 1969 (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Jackson)

Soul of a Nation, currently on view at the Broad Museum, brings together a diverse selection of work made by African American artists between 1963 and ’83, correcting a historical absence of institutional recognition. At the same time as the largely white art world was overlooking these artists, a small cadre of African American arts professionals and Black-owned galleries were exhibiting their work and promoting their careers.

One such organization was the Black Arts Council, founded in 1968 by two art preparators at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Claude Booker and Cecil Fergerson, who advocated for greater representation for Black artists at the museum. Artist, poet, and dancer Suzanne Jackson ran Gallery 32 just off Los Angeles’s MacArthur Park between 1968 and ’70, where she showed Emory Douglas, David Hammons, and Betye Saar among others. Founded in 1967 by Dale Brockman Davis and his brother Alonzo Davis, Leimert Park’s Brockman Gallery was an incredibly influential space for artists of color for over two decades, not only exhibiting their work, but offering them studio space.

This Saturday, the Broad will host a panel discussion on Exhibiting Black Art in 1970s Los Angeles, co-presented with LACMA. Moderated by Broad curator Sarah Loyer, the event will feature Jackson, Brockman Davis, and artist Ian White, son of Charles White, whose work is included in both Soul of a Nation and a current retrospective at LACMA. He was also prominently featured in Three Graphic Artists, a 1971 LACMA exhibition — the museum’s first show dedicated to Black art — that was a direct result of the Black Arts Council’s organizing.

When: Saturday, April 27, 2–3:30pm (Tickets: $18, includes admission to Soul of a Nation)
Where: The Broad, Oculus Hall (221 S. Grand Ave., Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info at The Broad.

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