Black Is the Color: A History of African American Art
Black History Month 2023 • 52m
Directed by Jacques Goldstein • Documentary • 2017 • 52 minutes
In 1969, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York mounted a major exhibit called “Harlem On My Mind.” There was just one thing wrong: the show had no work by African-American artists.
The “Harlem on My Mind” fiasco is emblematic of the barriers Black artists have faced when it comes to having their work exhibited and collected. BLACK IS THE COLOR highlights key moments in the history of African-American visual art, from Edmonia Lewis’s 1867 sculpture Forever Free, to the work of contemporary artists such as Whitfield Lovell, Kerry James Marshall, Ellen Gallagher, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Art historians and gallery owners place the works in context—juxtaposing them with racist images of African-Americans as minstrels, for instance, and setting them against the larger social contexts of Jim Crow, WWI, the civil rights movement and the racism of the Reagan era. Meanwhile, contemporary artists discuss individual works by their forerunners and their ongoing influence.
Both comprehensive and lively, BLACK IS THE COLOR is a much-needed survey of great work by artists whose contributions were neglected by the mainstream art world for far too long.
"An incredibly in-depth investigation." —Le Monde
Up Next in Black History Month 2023
Conversations with Roy DeCarava
Directed by Carroll Parrot Blue • Documentary • 1984 • 28 minutes
'It starts before you snap the shutter... It starts with your sense of what's important.' These are the words of Roy DeCarava, one of the foremost photographic artists of the twentieth century, contributor to the Family of Man exh...
Finally Got the News
Directed by Stewart Bird, Rene Lichtman and Peter Gessner • Documentary • 1970 • 55 minutes
FINALLY GOT THE NEWS is a forceful, unique documentary that reveals the activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers inside and outside the auto factories of Detroit. Through interviews with th...
Fate of a Salesman
Directed by Ben Crosbie and Tessa Moran • Documentary • 2013 • 27 minutes
Fate of a Salesman is an intimate portrait of a way of life on the verge of disappearing. In its 60th year of business, Men's Fashion Center in Washington, DC has come to represent identity, legacy and redemption for sales...