Rise Up

Published April 26, 2017

As the conversation concerning the omission of artists of color from the mainstream canon grows ever more impassioned, a new exhibition opening this month at the Brooklyn Museum offers a welcome, much-needed corrective. “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85” constructs a sprawling taxonomy of more than 40 black female artists working in their various idiosyncratic approaches to race, gender, sexuality, class, and representation during those particularly charged decades of social upheaval. From Lorraine O’Grady’s early 1980s performance Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, where the titular character militantly invades art spaces, to Faith Ringgold’s politically textured canvases, and from the activities of the avant-garde alternative space Just Above Midtown to the early kinetic films of director Julie Dash, “What this history has to offer around current conversations,” says co-curator Rujeko Hockley, “feels vitally important.”