The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art will present “Enduring in Vision and Linked in Tradition: Four Generations of African American Women Artists,” an intimate yet captivating exhibition featuring works by 12 highly accomplished artists representing four generations of African-American women in the art world from the first half of the 20th century to the present.
The exhibition is on display Feb. 11-April 8, with an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 7-9 p.m.
The exhibition features two renowned Los Angeles artists, the city’s native Betye Saar and New Orleans-born, Samella Lewis. Highly regarded, celebrated and influential, both artists still live and work in Los Angeles today; during the second half of the previous century both were major forces in the city’s vibrant art scene.
Saar started her career as an interior designer around 1950, and then gradually moved to printmaking, collage, assemblage and installation. She was also interested in interactive and performative art. Her art contains strong autobiographical and political elements, challenges myths and stereotypes, and is marked by a particular attachment to objects. In addition to making art, Saar was very active in the art community and as a feminist. She traveled widely, including an official U.S. government’s cultural mission to Asia. She also holds two honorary doctorates.
Lewis’s career path started differently. She studied both art and art history, and after earning her Ph.D. in the latter, she entered the world of academia. She dedicated herself to writing, promoting and exhibiting the work of African American artists. The first tenured African American faculty member at Scripps College, she taught there from 1970 until 1984. As an artist, she is best known for her figurative lithographs and serigraphs that are pictorial expressions of the black liberation and civil rights age, but she also worked in painting and sculpture.
Besides Saar and Lewis, the exhibition includes other highly accomplished artists — from the iconic senior, Lois Mailou Jones, through Elizabeth Catlett (one of Samella Lewis’s cherished mentors) and Gwendolyn Knight, to Mary Lovelace O’Neil.
The mid-career artists in the exhibition include Nanette Carter, Alison and Lezley Saar (Betye Saar’s daughters), Elisabeth Sunday and Eve Sandler. The younger generation is represented by Kenturah Davis and Lisa C Soto, both part of the Los Angeles art scene. Davis, originally from Los Angeles, is now an MFA candidate at Yale University School of Art.
Much anticipated at CSUSB and in San Bernardino, this first exhibition of African American artists at RAFFMA offers a wide and compelling spectrum of visions conveyed in various mediums and forms. Stressing the achievements and distinct contributions of African American women to the world of art, the exhibition will crown the university’s celebrations of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March of 2017. It will also pilot a large presentation of art by African American artists at RAFFMA in 2018.
An accompanying event, “the message if The Ones: An Evening of Music, Art & Poetry,” will take place on Thursday, March 9, 6-8 p.m.
The exhibition has been organized by RAFFMA, with consultation from Alitash Kebede. The exhibition and its accompanying programs have been funded in part by the CSUSB’s Division of Student Affairs.
The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art is a nationally recognized museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The only accredited art museum in San Bernardino, RAFFMA has accumulated a permanent collection of nearly 1,200 objects focusing on Egyptian antiquities, ceramics and contemporary art. Located at Cal State San Bernardino, RAFFMA houses the largest permanent and public display of Egyptian art in Southern California. In the 2016-2017 school year, RAFFMA will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on the CSUSB campus.
General admission to the museum is free. Suggested donation is $3. Parking at Cal State San Bernardino is $6 per vehicle and $3 on weekends.
The museum is open Monday-Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and is closed Friday and Sunday. For more information, call (909) 537-7373 or visit the RAFFMA website.