Release Date: July 3,2018
The Akron Art Museum will host a community conversation to discuss ideas about Jeff Donaldson: Dig, an exhibition coming to the museum in October 2018. Donaldson co-founded the influential AfriCOBRA art movement in 1968, seeking to create a new kind of art that was politically engaged, reflected contemporary Black culture and appealed specifically to a Black audience. The community meeting, scheduled for Thursday, July 19 from 6:00 to 7:00 P.M., is free and open to all. The museum hopes to incorporate input from participants to guide the creation of programs and materials about the exhibition.
Akron Art Museum Director of Education Alison Caplan said, “From programming to label text and reading room materials, it is important that we include a community perspective in all the major exhibitions we host. Jeff Donaldson is of particular importance because the work deals with issues like social justice that are relevant on a local and national level today. We want to make sure that local voices are included in that conversation and further represented in the galleries.”
Jeff Donaldson: Dig is the first museum retrospective of Donaldson’s work. The exhibition explores more than 40 years of the artist’s career, from his activist beginnings in Chicago, through his contributions as a celebrated professor at Howard University and as Vice President of the Barnes Foundation. The artist’s works, ranging from paintings and prints to mixed media pieces, feature African iconography, complex and dynamic colors, and intricate patterns, and often showcase multilayered constructions that begin to extend beyond two dimensions.
Donaldson co-founded AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) with Wadsworth Jarrell, Jae Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu and Gerald Williams in response to 1960s political and social unrest and an art world that was focused mainly on white artists and audiences. The group focused on creating an African American aesthetic that promoted pride in Black identity, while also encouraging artists to participate in the social well-being of their communities.
For more information about Jeff Donaldson: Dig at the Akron Art Museum, visit the museum at akronartmuseum.org. Join the conversation on social media and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.