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Scene in America: A Contemporary Look at the Black Male Image

Page history last edited by Ellen Show 1 year, 10 months ago

Scene in America:

A Contemporary Look at the Black Male Image

April 19, 2008 - April 5, 2009

Mint Museum of Art

Crosland and Rankin Galleries


CHUCK CLOSE. American, 1940-

Lyle 2003 screenprint 65.5 x 53.875 inches


Scene in America: A Contemporary Look at the Black Male Image takes an in-depth look at identity and race in Contemporary art. This exhibition includes 27 paintings, photographs, works on paper and sculpture from the Mint Museum’s collection, regional institutions, private collectors and artists. Scene in America delves into Black male identity through the perspective of not only African-American male artists, but also through artists of different races and genders. The first of its kind at The Mint Museum, the exhibition explores identity and art with an emphasis on power through Black masculinity from usurpation to attainment. Many African-American men have labored for a piece of the American dream only to face obstacles from the legacy of slavery and persecution to dealing with the same stereotypes in 2008. Scene in America also focuses on politics, socioeconomics, and youth identity. The earliest works included in the show are from Harlem Renaissance masters Hale Woodruff and Romare Bearden. Other established artists include Elizabeth Catlett, Camille Billops and Samella Lewis. Emerging artists John Hairston, Jr. and Antoine “RAW” Williams are also featured. Scene in America features artists from the region such as Juan Logan, Willie Little, Tommie Robinson, and John Biggers among others. The goal of Scene in America is to create dialogue and bridge communities through art and history.



 Scene in America exhibition page (this link is no longer available) on the Mint Museum website


What do you think about the exhibition? Go to the Scene in America blog and let us know!



  • Artist Forum with T.J Reddy and Moye, (this link is no longer available) October 7 at the Mint Museum
  • The July issue of Charlotte magazine has an article on Scene in America, which discusses its portrayal of social and political issues.
  • Richard Maschal's review (this link is no longer available) of Scene in America from the Charlotte Observer (6/1/08)
  • A review (this link is no longer available)   by Charity Frederick from the Arts Flash section in Creative Loafing


Exhibition Themes

Building Identity

John Biggers

  • An excellent resource on John Biggers life and work, including a biography, gallery, educational resources, and multimedia from Emory University.
  • In April 2008, the city of Gastonia unveiled a large outdoor mural as a tribute to John Biggers based on his design. Read (this link is no longer available) about it and view (this link is no longer available) it here.  In 1990, John Biggers painted two murals in Winston Salem.
  • John Biggers: My America, The 1940s and 1950s -- Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Traditional Fine Arts Online website


Chuck Close

  • Blaffer Gallery's Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration This exhibition came to the Mint Museum of Art in April to August, 2005. Contains learning resources as well as biographical information and many examples of his prints.
  • Video (link is no longer available) presented by the High Museum of Art, Chuck Close describes the processes in the making of his art.
  • A Look at Chuck Close From the White Cube, this website includes a brief biography, description of his art, and additional links for research.
  • Friedman, Martin. Close Reading: Chuck Close and the Art of the Self-Portrait. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005. N6537 .C54 F75 2005. This comprehensive book on Chuck Close features a lengthy biography, an in-depth look at his self portraits, and an analysis of additional portraits Close made of other artists.


Wendy Ewald

  • Addison Gallery of American Art - Wendy Ewald - American Alphabets
  • Wendy Ewald talks about the book American Alphabets - an extract
  • Literacy through Photography - Artists in the Classroom - a Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University project in which "Photographer Wendy Ewald collaborated with Cathy Fine and her fifth-grade class on this project in which students wrote two self-portraits, one as themselves and then one in which they imagined themselves as members of another race. Ewald then photographed the students posing as their “black” and “white” selves."
  • Wendy Ewald Secret Games, Collaborative Works with Children, 1969 - 1999- exhibition at the Mint Museum (2006)- with accompanying photographs
  • Wendy Ewald resources (link is no longer available) from UC Berkeley
  • Ewald, Wendy. Secret games : collaborative works with children 1969-1999. Zurich: Scalo, 2000. TR647.E935 A422 2000 " My job was to recognize the uniqueness of each child's vision and nutire this vision to produce photographs"
  • Ewald, Wendy. American alphabets. Zurich : Scalo, 2005 TR647 .E95 2005 Photographs that show "how young people (and the rest of us) shape our worlds by conjuring names and terms for objects, beings and states of mind - always changing,forever twitching in a net of social circumstances."


Jeanne Montoussamy-Ashe
  • Artist website (link is no longer available).


Tommie Robinson


Charles White



Legacy of Slavery: Persecution and Racism

Juan Logan

  • A good chronologof Logan's art from the artist himself. He is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in Studio Art at the University of North Carolina
  • A brief biography and some images from an exhibition at the Tweed Museum of Art in Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Logan, Juan. Juan Logan : full disclosure. Greenville : Greenville County Museum of Art, 2005 N6537.L582 A4 2005


Hale Woodruff

  • Transcript of an interview with Woodruff from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art site.
  • A biography from the African American Registry site.
  • A brief biography from the Yale Bulletin and Calendar (this link is no longer available), Woodruff was featured in Southern Exposure: Works by Winfred Rembert and Hale Woodruff at the Yale University Art Gallery in 2000.



Migration and Unification

Romare Bearden

  • Brian Keith Jackson's article "Harlem Serenade" from the New York Times references Bearden's Evening, 9:10, 461 Lenox Avenue shown in this exhibition.
  • Transcript from an interview from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art site.
  • Video (link is no longer available)  of Bearden on Charlie Rose made available through youtube.com.
  • The Bearden Foundation web site provides a wealth of information not only about the artist and his work, but also education resources such as lesson plans. Check out the Let's Walk The Block activity based on his collage of the same name. Turn up the sound!
  • Listen to a 1986 interview (this link is no longer available)  with the artist from PBS.


Samella Lewis

  • Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection from the Scripps College Williamson Gallery



Political Activism

Benjamin "Old Folks" Davis

  • Davidson College presented the "first-ever exhibition of works by self-taught Charlotte artist" Davis in 2003. (scroll halfway down the page)


John Hairston

  • A short biography and examples of Hairston's art at All City Studios
  • A write-up in Creative Loafing (this link is no longer available) about Godcity, an art collective featuring Hairston and Antoine Williams.
  • John Hairston's MySpace page.
  • godcity MySpace page with information about John Hairston and Antoine Williams.


Antoine Williams (RAW)

  • Antoine Williams' blog
  • Link to the godcity blog , which features numerous images of Williams' work.
  • Antoine Williams' MySpace page
  • His work Bird of Prey was selected to be part of the Yo! What Happened to Peace poster exhibition. "The Yo! show had its beginnings in 2002 during the march to war in Iraq. Starting originally with 14 posters, it has since grown into an international exhibition featuring work from a growing roster of more than 130 artists."



Socio- Economic

Raymond Elozua


Larry Fink

  • A number of portfolios of Finks photographs on the Katrina Doerner photographs page. Click on each picture to scroll through the photographic series.
  • Images from The Forbidden Pictures Apolitical Tableau for the Powerhouse Gallery.
  • Four images for the Museum of Modern Art


TJ Reddy

  • Biography and papers from the J. Murray Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • A short video narrated by Reddy of The New South Group of African American artists, of which he and Tommie Robinson are members.
  • More examples of his work may be seen here from his exhibition last year at the Blowers Gallery of Ramsey Library at UNC-Asheville.




Camille Billops


Willie Little

  • Artists website, including a large portfolio.
  • From January 15, 2008, an audio link (this link is no longer available) to a WFAE 90.7 Fm Charlotte Talks interview with Willie Little, in it, he "discuss(es) his upcoming exhibit at the Levine Museum of the New South, "In Mixed Company," which explores the idea that we talk more openly and differently with members of our own race than we do "in mixed company." We'll also be joined by an essayist who studied Mr. Little's exhibit, and an expert from UNC-Charlotte to discuss the phenomenon behind the exhibit" . Information about the exhibition here (link is no longer available).
  • Exhibition In Mixed Company (link is no longer available) at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte


Cedric Smith




Ben Long

  • Artist website
  • The city of Charlotte features many frescos by Long, including his first secular fresco in the Bank of America corporate center.
  • Information about Long's frescoe at the Crossnore School in Crossnore, North Carolina.
  • Images at the Crossroads frescoe in Statesville, North Carolina.
  • Capturing the Essence: Portraits by Ben Long (this link is no longer available) - exhibition at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (2003)
  • Mo, Charles L. The North Carolina frescoes of Ben Long. Charlotte, N.C. : Mint Museum of Art, c1997.ND237.L699 A4 1997 - Includes an interview with the artist.


Robert Mapplethorpe

  • University of South Florida site which explains the process of photogravure, used in the exhibition's piece, Untitled #1, 1985
  • Selected works from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. website.
  • Biography from the Guggenheim Museum site



Unity and Power

Elizabeth Catlett

  • A timeline and four pages of art from artnet.com
  • National Museum of Women in Arts entry
  • "Solitude and Solidarity: The Art of Elizabeth Catlett "exhibition (site is no longer available) currently at the Delta Arts Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
  • Herzog, Melanie. Elizabeth Catlett : in the image of the people. Chicago : Art Institute of Chicago, c2005.


Milton Derr (Johnson) 

  • Brother Soldier (link is no longer available)  from the Wasret Collection along with a biographical sketch.


Explore Further

  • A list of Scene in America resources (link is no longer available) from MARCO (The Mint Art Research Catalog Online)
  • From the University of Texas at Austin, check out Dynamics of Difference (link is no longer available) which asks the question: is race always central to the work of an African American artist?
  • Golden, Thelma. Black Male : Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art. New York : Whitney Museum of American Art, c1994 NX652.A37 G65 1994
  • Harris, Michael D., 1948-. Colored pictures : race and visual representation. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2003. N8232 .H37 2003
  • McElroy, Guy C. Facing history : the Black image in American art, 1710-1940. San Francisco, CA : Bedford Arts, c1990 N8232 .M44 1990
  • Black photographers bear witness : 100 years of social protest. Williamstown, Mass. : Williams College Museum of Art, c1989. TR645.W552 W5531 1989
  • Committed to the image : contemporary black photographers. Brooklyn, N.Y. : Brooklyn Museum of Art in association with Merrell, 2001. TR645.N532 B7 2001







Page Created by Joe Eshleman, Library Assistant for The Mint Museum of Art.







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