Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today

Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields (triptych), 1990

This exhibition is intended to be a platform to further their visibility, as well as to generate more inclusive conversations about the history of American abstraction that consider the accomplishments and contributions of women artists of color…

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the forthcoming exhibition, Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, which will be on view at Kemper Museum June 8 through September 17, 2017, and will then travel to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Magnetic Fields is the first U.S. presentation dedicated exclusively to the formal and historical dialogue of abstraction by women artists of color. The exhibition has also garnered major support and merit through the reception of prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The exhibition is organized by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, and co-curated by Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs at Kemper Museum, and Melissa Messina, independent curator and curator of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, Georgia.

Magnetic Fields focuses a long-overdue lens on the contributions of women artists of color within the lineage of non-representational art making. As the first museum exhibition of its kind, Magnetic Fields aims to spark more broad and inclusive presentations of American abstraction going forward. Intergenerational in scope, this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue amplify the formal and conceptual connections among twenty-one artists born between 1891 (Alma Thomas) and 1981 (Abigail DeVille), many presented in conversation with one another for the first time.

Co-curators Erin Dziedzic and Melissa Messina stated, “As curators, we are honored to present this incredible, intergenerational group of artists.” They added, “This exhibition is intended to be a platform to further their visibility, as well as to generate more inclusive conversations about the history of American abstraction that consider the accomplishments and contributions of women artists of color going forward.”

Executive Director Barbara O’Brien said, “The exhibition Magnetic Fields has proven to be historic for Kemper Museum both in content and support. The unprecedented grant support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts contributes to the groundswell of interest and enthusiasm received for the theme, artists, and works of art organized for this extraordinary exhibition.”

In the June 2014 ARTnews article “Black Abstraction: Not a Contradiction,”…

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