Faith Ringgold: American People

Saturday, Nov 18, 2023 – Feb 25, 2024

220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago is pleased to announce Faith Ringgold: American People, a career-spanning survey of artist Faith Ringgold (b. 1930, Harlem, NY; lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey), opening in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art on November 18, 2023, and running through February 25, 2024. This exhibition will be Ringgold’s first solo presentation in Chicago.

With a career that spans six decades, artist, author, educator, and organizer Ringgold is one of the most influential cultural figures of her generation. This major retrospective presents a comprehensive assessment of the artist’s impactful vision, which bears witness to the complexity of the American experience.

Originally organized by the New Museum, New York, the MCA adaptation of Faith Ringgold: American People will showcase many of her best-known pieces, including paintings, quilts, and sculptures, as well as archival materials from her activist work in the late 1960s and 1970s. It will examine Ringgold’s art as it evolved in response to politics and society, including the artist’s indelible works of the civil rights era, her radical explorations of gender and racial identity, and her focus on collective struggles for social justice and equity. A part of the MCA’s Women Artists Initiative, this timely exhibition provides a new opportunity to experience the art of an American icon.

“The MCA is proud to give Faith Ringgold and the city of Chicago a platform for this important retrospective,” Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn said. “A key artistic influence throughout the twentieth century, Ringgold captured catalytic moments throughout American racial, social, and feminist history. These stories still resonate today. Continuing to share them is key, now more than ever.”

The exhibition will also further contextualize Ringgold’s continuing impact on art history through the inclusion of works from the MCA Collection by artists who were influenced by Ringgold or explore similar themes in their work.

Faith Ringgold: American People is an overdue examination of an iconic artist whose work has been underseen in Chicago,” Manilow Senior Curator Jamillah James said. “Ringgold’s centering of social critique and personal and familial narrative in her work has been profoundly influential to later generations of artists, and we are thrilled to partner with the New Museum to bring this thought-provoking and timely exhibition to the MCA.”


Top Image: Faith Ringgold (b. 1930, New York, NY), American People Series #16: Woman Looking in a Mirror, 1966. Oil on canvas; 36 × 32 in. (91.4 × 81.3 cm). Baz Family Collection. © 2023 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York.



FAITH RINGGOLD (b. 1930, Harlem, NY; lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey) earned a bachelor’s degree from City College of the City University of New York in 1955 and a master’s degree from City College in 1959. Her artwork resides in over fifty prominent public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Smithsonian Institute of Art, Washington, DC; Baltimore Museum of Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Newark Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; and St. Louis Art Museum. Her achievements as an artist, teacher, and activist have been recognized with numerous honors, including the National Endowment for the Arts awards in sculpture and in painting; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; an NAACP Image Award; a Caldecott Honor; a Peace Corps Award bestowed by President Barack Obama; and sixteen honorary doctorates.



The MCA Chicago presentation of Faith Ringgold: American People is curated by Jamillah James, Manilow Senior Curator, with Jack Schneider, Assistant Curator. The exhibition was originally organized by the New Museum, New York, and curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, and Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Senior Curator, with Madeline Weisburg, Curatorial Assistant.