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Charles White: A Retrospective

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2018
Published by: Art Institute of Chicago/Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Yale University Press
Year published: 2018
Number of pages: 246
ISBN: 978-0-300-23298-1

Charles White’s last retrospective exhibitions had taken place several decades ago, both before and following his death in 1979. These retrospectives came with important, though relatvely modest catalogues. Towering over these exhibitions from several decades ago, and towering over their attendant catalogues, was Charles White: A Retrospective, the first major museum survey devoted to the artist in well over 30 years. The exhibition charted the breadth of Charles White’s career—from the 1930s through to works completed before his death in 1979. Featuring in excess of 100 works, including drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, illustrated books, record covers and archival materials, this was by far the most extensive, well resourced exhibition of the artist’s wok ever to take place. Fittingly, it travelled to prominent galleries in the three US cities with which White was associated. Opening at the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition travelled to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, finishing its tour at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This was a weighty, profusely illustrated catalogue, coming as it did with important texts by leading scholars and well known names.

From the flyleaf:



Edited by Sarah Kelly Oehler and Esther Adler

With essays by Esther Adler, Ilene Susan Fort, Kellie Jones, Sarah Kelly Oehler, Mark Pascale, and Deborah Willis and a preface by Kerry James Marshall

Charles White (1918 - 1979) is best known for bold, large-scale paintings and drawings of African Americans, meticulously executed works that depict human relationships and socio-economic struggles with a  remarkable sensitivity. This comprehensive study offers a much-needed reexamination of the artist’s career and legacy. With handsome reproductions of White’s finest paintings, drawings and prints, the volume introduces his work to contemporary audiences, places him in the art historical narrative, and stresses the continuing relevance of his insistent dedication to producing positive social change through art.

Tracing White’s career from his emergence in Chicago to his mature practice as an artist, activist and educator in New York and Los Angeles, leading experts provide insights into his creative process, his work as a photographer, his political activism and interest in history, the relationships between his art and his teaching, and the importance of feminism in his work. A preface by Kerry James Marshall honors White’s significance as a mentor to an entire generation of practitioners.

Published by the Art Instiute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and distrubuted by Yale University Press, the publication’s contents were as follows:

Foreword, by 

Related people

»  Kerry James Marshall

Born, 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama

»  Charles White

Born, 1918. Died, 1979

»  Deborah Willis

Born, 1948 in Philadelphia, USA

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Art institute of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

»  Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles, California, United States of America

»  Museum of Modern Art, New York City

New York, New York, United States of America