Faith Ringgold; the only U.S. venue of the touring exhibition will be at Glenstone. The American Collection #6: The Flag is Bleeding #2, 1997.
Glenstone Museum in Potomac will be the only U.S. museum to host a major monographic exhibition of more than 70 works by American artist Faith Ringgold (b. 1930, Harlem, NY), including nine from the Glenstone collection, as part of a two-year international tour organized by the Serpentine in London. Titled Faith Ringgold, the traveling show will open at Glenstone this spring, following a presentation at the Bildmuseet in Umeå, Sweden that closed in January. One of the artist’s largest survey exhibitions to date, the Glenstone presentation will feature approximately 30 additional works on loan not exhibited earlier in the tour.
Glenstone is currently operating as an outdoor-only experience. Reopening dates and plans for indoor experiences, including the Faith Ringgold exhibition, will be announced soon.
“Faith Ringgold’s powerful depictions of the African American experience are as arresting today as they were when she first started making art nearly sixty years ago,” said Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone. “Her art has had a strong presence at the museum ever since we displayed one of her iconic paintings in our inaugural installation at the Pavilions in 2018, so it only seemed fitting for Faith Ringgold to be the first touring exhibition hosted at Glenstone.”
Over the course of her career, Ringgold has worked in a variety of media, most notably quilting, painting, performance, and soft sculpture. She is the author of several children’s books. Ringgold is one of 33 artists inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters recently.
The works on view in Faith Ringgold highlight both the artist’s range and her incomparable ability to focus the act of artmaking into a critical agent of social change. The exhibition features key examples from the full spectrum of the artist’s oeuvre, beginning with her early 1960s paintings and the political posters that she made in response to the increasing racial violence that was tearing at the seams of American society.
Later, Ringgold restricted her palette to dark colors and Black skin tones, all but abandoning white paint. During a flurry of creative momentum in the 1970s and 1980s, storytelling and performance became increasingly vital to the artist’s practice. Ringgold moved away from traditional painting and began incorporating the fabric arts into her work, creating three-dimensional sculpture, multimedia performances, and finally, paintings on unstretched canvases stitched with fabric borders that were inspired by Tibetan tankas. This technique eventually developed into her signature story quilts, combining her affinity for detailed narratives with the vibrant tradition of African American quilting.
Faith Ringgold was initiated by the Serpentine and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Melissa Blanchflower. For its presentation at Glenstone, the exhibition is curated by Emily Wei Rales.
“An extraordinary painter, activist, and storyteller, she documents and bears witness to major moments in modern history,” said Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine. “It is hard to believe the Serpentine exhibition was Faith’s first European institutional show. She is among the most important figurative and political painters of our time. …
“As Faith herself says: Raise your voice. Unite. Tell your story. Do the work and keep doing it.”
The exhibition debuted at the Serpentine on June 6, 2019 and closed on September 8, 2019. It was on view at the Bildmuseet from August 27, 2020 to January 10. After delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the presentation at Glenstone Museum will open this spring.
Glenstone will publish an expanded second edition of the Serpentine’s 2019 catalogue, which is available for pre-order on Glenstone’s website. Starting today and through the run of show, all proceeds from Faith Ringgold-related sales on the website and at Glenstone’s Bookstore will be donated to the artist’s visual arts non-profit organization, the Anyone Can Fly Foundation. More information about the foundation can be found at https://www.anyonecanflyfoundation.org/.
Glenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art, is integrated into nearly 300 acres of gently rolling pasture and unspoiled woodland in Potomac, Montgomery County, Md., less than 15 miles from the heart of Washington, DC. Established by the not-for-profit Glenstone Foundation, the museum opened in 2006 and provides a contemplative, intimate setting for experiencing iconic works of art and architecture within a natural environment. The museum includes its original building, the Gallery, as well as additional structures opened in its 2018 expansion: the Arrival Hall (LEED platinum), the Pavilions, and the Café (both LEED gold).
Glenstone is currently open as an outdoor only experience, Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are invited to explore the grounds or participate in self-guided sculpture tours. Admission to Glenstone is free and visits can be scheduled online at: https://www.glenstone.org/.