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‘Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties” at Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum’s new civil rights exhibition goes beyond old photos

The Brooklyn Paper
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The civil rights movement is making a comeback in Brooklyn.

Starting March 7, the Brooklyn Museum will showcase a treasure trove of forgotten and famous visual art that captures the tumultuous liberation movement of the 1960s. Most exhibits of the era focus on famous photographs of protests, leaders, and clashes with police. But this is not most exhibits, said the show’s curators.

“You usually see a lot of photography shows about this era because the photography is so visual and had a strong role in changing the country,” said co-curator Terry Carbone. “Most of those shows overlook the fine art aspect and fine artists were also very much involved in creating visions to think about the changing United States.”

“Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties” does have some photography, the curators said, but it also boasts 103 works by 66 artists, focusing primarily on graphics, paintings, and sculptures.

Pieces include Jae Jarrell’s “Urban Wall Suit,” a fabric suit inspired by activist murals and graffiti, and Robert Indiana’s “The Confederacy: Alabama” — a graphic painting of a map that highlights the Selma to Montgomery march lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The show also includes works by late Brooklyn artist Roy DeCarava, the first African-American photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship, and borough-born Danny Lyon, who captured 1960s demonstrations against segregation in the South.

In addition to providing an wide-ranging look at how artists of the era tackled the struggle for racial justice, the exhibit’s curators said they hope their works will inspire some introspection about where activism fits into today’s society.

“You can use visual arts to make a statement and to make someone feel deeply and feel something differently,” Carbone said.

“Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties” at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. near Washington Avenue, (718) 638–5000, www.brooklynmusuem.org]. March 7 to July 6. $12 museum admission, $8 students and seniors, kids under 12 free.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Civil Rights for embattled Hipsters!
March 7, 2014, 9:30 am
alex says:
when naming firsts for things done - why is the "first" white person to do something not celebrated?
March 7, 2014, 10:07 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Because you are an idiot? I'm just taking a wild stab in the dark here, so I hope you'll pardon me.
March 7, 2014, 4:33 pm

Comments closed.

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