Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St. Location Floor 2
Since their recent inclusion in such internationally acclaimed exhibitions as Soul of a Nation, AFRICOBRA 50, and AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, an official collateral exhibition of the 2019 Venice Biennale, Jarrell and Williams are known mostly for their painterly works on canvas and panel. Featuring a broad selection of drawings, prints, and paintings on paper, some never before exhibited, Works on Paper spotlights a cross-section of formal and technical innovations that the artists worked through over the decades and which came to define their individual positions. This rarely seen side of the two artists offers insights into the roots of their historic paintings, and expands upon the story of their transformation from artistic revolutionaries into contemporary legends.
This presentation’s story begins before the founding of AFRICOBRA, when a young Wadsworth Jarrell was seeking to capture a snapshot of Black American life. Jarrell’s paintings and drawings from this period depict jazz clubs, street markets, and neighborhood hangouts in simple but expressive honesty. Sketch for Mackin’ the Gameshows a busy street scene, the fashion and architecture immediately speaking to a specific time and place. Study for the Wall of Respect, meanwhile, offers a glimpse of a crucial turning point for Jarrell’s development and for the history of art in Chicago. The Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), established in 1967, worked collaboratively on the Wall of Respect mural, one of the most iconic projects of the Black Arts Movement era.