March 28, 2013: As part of their ongoing exhibition, "Faith Ringgold’s America: Early Works and Quilts," (on view through April 27) ACA Galleries at 529 West 20th Street hosted a reception with great refreshments and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a lively panel discussion with the artist. The engaging chat with Ringgold was moderated by Dr. Michele Wallace, Faith’s daughter who wrote the essay for one of her mother’s many books, "Faith Ringgold’s Painting of the 1960’s," and included Thom Collins the Director of the Miami Art Museum and Tracy Fitzpatrick the Chief Curator for the Neuberger Museum. Collins originated the complete exhibition of Ringgold’s early paintings "American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s," which was organized by the Neuberger Museum with a major assist from Fitzpatrick and will be traveling to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC where the work will be on view June 21 through November 10, 2013.
Thom set the tone for the discussion saying "Art can change the world." Indeed Ringgold’s work from the 1960’s may have helped changed minds on civil rights, the women’s movement
, and even Vietnam, which are elemental themes in Faith Ringgold’s unique, colorful and dramatic art that tells her story of that era, which she lived through and reflected on in her creations.
Ringgold was the star of the evening captivating the standing room only audience with her tales of the numerous challenges as a woman African/American artist, and how she discovered a solution for each dilemma. She was fortunate enough to be found by Robert Newman of the Spectrum Gallery on East 57th Street in 1967. They gave her a show and encouraged her to paint bigger even giving her the gallery over the summer, when galleries where closed then, so she could grow and experiment. The result was her dynamic political paintings reflecting on her experience during the advent of Black Power. Rinnggold’s work, influenced to some degree by her favorite writer James Baldwin (sh
e read his "Go Tell It on the Mountain" in 1960), provoked people and made them think.
Ringgold elaborated on the necessity of moving to quits and the process for creating them and her transition from oil to acrylic. She was a refreshingly warm, funny, and spontaneous artist openly sharing her adventures utterly enchanting the audience with her tales. Her "ANYONE CAN FLY FOUNDATION, is one of her latest and most passionate endeavors.
FAITH RINGGOLD’S AMERICA: EARLY WORK AND STORY QUILTS will be on view ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street (5th floor) through April 27, 2013. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10:30-6:00pm 212-206-8080
By: Patrick Christiano
Photography: Barry Gordin
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