Jan 28th 2019

Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection

@ Smart Museum of Art

5550 S Greenwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Opening Monday, January 28th, from 7PM - 8:30PM

On view through Sunday, May 19th

Solidary & Solitary tells the history of art by African-American artists, with a particular emphasis on abstraction, from the 1940s to the present moment. That story is a complicated one, woven from the threads of debates about how to represent blackness, social struggle and change, and global migrations and diasporas.

The exhibition is drawn from the Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection, and explores abstraction, broadly understood, as a meaningful political focus, rather than a stylistic preference. For Black artists, abstraction is charged with the refusal of representation that is socially dictated, both by racist stereotypes of the dominant culture, and the pressure from within the Black community to create positive imagery. Abstract art as a practice embodies the possibility of individual freedom and autonomy, even within larger social identities.

Solidary & Solitary ties together artists like Norman Lewis and Leonardo Drew in an intergenerational history and presents a story of mutual aid and care, of artistic inspiration—the power for a young artist of seeing another Black person as a creative producer.


Kevin Beasley
Bethany Collins
Leonardo Drew
Melvin Edwards
Charles Gaines
Sam Gilliam
Jennie C. Jones
Samuel Levi Jones
Norman Lewis
Glenn Ligon
Serge Alain Nitegeka
Shinique Smith
Tavares Strachan
Amanda Williams
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


Free, open to all.

Image: Kevin Beasley, Bronx Fitted,2015, New Era® Yankee fitted hats, bandanas, resin, television mount. The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection.© Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York,Photo by Jean Vong.

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