FLINT — African and African American art are the focus of two-large scale exhibitions opening the 2019 calendar year at the Flint Institute of Arts.
On Jan. 27, Engaging African Art: Highlights from the Horn Collection and Vanessa German: Miracles and Glory Abound both begin a multi-month run at Michigan’s second largest art museum, just in time for Black History Month. Engaging African Art features African artworks from the collection of Dr. Robert Horn, who began collecting African art more than 50 years ago. The collection, which contains objects from more than 60 African cultures, includes masks as well as small-tomedium sized figures made of wood, bone, metals, clay, and beads, representing various spiritual, social, and ceremonial messages. The exhibition demonstrates the rich diversity of African visual expressions and cultures. Miracles and Glory Abound investigates the power of stories – how tales transform with each telling and how alterations of truth affect our understanding of the past. Drawing from Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware (currently on view in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art), German reimagines the iconic image using her own power figures to create a conversation about public memory and the rewriting of history through the lens of privilege. The exhibition surveys the complicated, nuanced history of the United States and the ways in which that history relates to our current suffering, through violence, hate, and materialism, as a nation. Engaging African Art: Highlights from the Horn Collection and Vanessa German: Miracles and Glory Abound both open on Jan. 27. Engaging African Art runs through May 26 and Miracles and Glory Abound runs through April 20.
On Jan. 27, exhibitions visitors can meet Vanessa German from 1-2 p.m. in the FIA’s Hodge Galley. Museum admission on this day is free to all visitors, regardless of residency. — G.G.