Charles White: A Retrospective is the first major museum survey devoted to the artist in over 30 years. The exhibition charts White’s full career—from the 1930s through his premature death in 1979—with over 100 works, including drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, illustrated books, record covers and archival materials.
The exhibition is organized chronologically, with groupings centered on the cities and creative communities in which White lived and worked. Each section is supported by relevant ephemera and supporting materials detailing White’s working process, political and social activities, and role as a teacher.
The exhibition includes representative work from the three artistic centers in which White lived, created, and taught throughout his life: Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. It begins with early paintings and murals White made for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Depression-era Chicago, where he grew up. Shortly thereafter, between 1942 and 1956, White lived mainly in New York City, teaching drawing, exhibiting at the progressive ACA Gallery on 57th Street, and supporting the Committee for the Negro in the Arts in Harlem. A selection of White’s personal photographs, also on view in the exhibition, capture his life in New York, while the inclusion of his work for album covers, publications, film, and television emphasize his dedication to more accessible distribution outlets for his art. The presentation concludes with the inventive output from his last decades as an internationally established figure and influential teacher in Los Angeles during the 1960s and ’70s.
The retrospective is on view through January 13, 2019 at MoMA 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan, New York. Following its MoMA presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where it will be on view in Spring 2019. photographs courtesy of MoMA