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“Faith Ringgold: American People,” 2022

Faith Ringgold Weaves an American Quilt of Truth and Freedom

When Faith Ringgold has something to say, we listen. As an artist, writer, educator, and mother, she has fought for social justice and equity through singular treasures of painting, sculpture, performance, and the written word for over fifty years. In celebration of her voice and her enduring message of faith, the New Museum presents a comprehensive retrospective of works, “Faith Ringgold: American People,” on view now through June 5. Pieces on view tell the story of both Ringgold’s personal experience and America’s complicated history.

“Faith Ringgold: American People,” 2022

Installation view of “Faith Ringgold: American People,” photo by Dario Lasagni, courtesy of New Museum, New York.

Ringgold, born 1930 in Harlem, received visual art degrees from the City College of New York. Her subsequent works during the the civil rights era, unifying her styles of figuratism and protest, are now deeply ingrained in our art and cultural histories. The exhibition opens with “super-realist” paintings from “The American People” and “Black Light” series, with celebrated murals shown together for the first time in decades. Ringgold illustrates with blazing acumen the extreme divisions of race and gender in the 1960s. In iconic political posters and photographs, she upholds her sweeping mission as an activist.

“Faith Ringgold: American People,” 2022

Installation view of “Faith Ringgold: American People,” photo by Dario Lasagni, courtesy of New Museum, New York.

“Faith Ringgold: American People,” 2022

Installation view of “Faith Ringgold: American People,” photo by Dario Lasagni, courtesy of New Museum, New York.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Ringgold reframed the rules once again with art and craft traditions, performance objects, and soft sculptures. The exhibition displays her incredible tankas, inspired by a Tibetan art form of paintings framed in ornate fabric. Ringgold transformed this medium for a profound and tender examination of gender and racial identification. From here came the acclaimed story quilts of the 80s and 90s, filled with personal and collective histories. This section of the exhibition begins with formative quilts made by Ringgold with her mother, and includes a never before seen full presentation of the historic “French Collection.” The story quilts mirror and expand on a history of pain, resistance, and freedom within the American journey. 

“Faith Ringgold: American People,” 2022

Installation view of “Faith Ringgold: American People,” photo by Dario Lasagni, courtesy of New Museum, New York.

Programming for the exhibition includes in-depth panel conversations with international artists and curators, experimental art classes, live virtual and in-person tours, as well as a special Reading Room in the museum to host Ringgold’s award-winning children’s books. The exhibition’s catalog, co-published with Phaidon, is a landmark collection of Ringgold’s work. Contributions from multi-generational artists, writers, and curators, attest to the vast impact of Ringgold on American art history. “Faith Ringgold: American People” is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson as Artistic Director, and Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator, with Madeline Weisburg, Curatorial Assistant. 

Faith Ringgold,

Faith Ringgold, “Early Works #25: Self-Portrait,” 1965, Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in; © Faith Ringgold / ARS, NY and DACS, London, courtesy of ACA Galleries, New York.

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Minjung Kim

THE SPRING ARTIST ISSUE
2023

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“With My Eyes," the Holy See’s contribution to the 2024 Venice Biennale, will be held inside Giudecca Women’s Prison.
At D.D.D.D., artist’s Kate Liebman solo show of now work, “Hopscotch,” is on view now through February 19.
In Miami for Art Week and not sure where to start? Visit some of these best Miami exhibitions at spaces across the city.

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER

Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.