Iconic Faith Ringgold painting acquired by the National Gallery

Washington, DC, October 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The National Gallery of Art has acquired The American People Series # 18: The Flag Bleeds (1967), her first painting by Faith Ringgold (born 1930). This pivotal work from a leading figure in contemporary art illustrates the artist’s skill in using art as a vehicle to challenge the social dynamics of race, gender and power. As a visual storyteller, Ringgold is known for her thought-provoking depictions of the difficult realities of the American experience. The painting was acquired with funds donated by the Glenstone Foundation and the Permanent Patrons Fund. On display until October 24, 2021 at the Glenstone Museum, the work is scheduled to feature in Ringgold’s retrospective at the New Museum in New York from February 17 to June 5, 2022.

“This is perhaps the most significant purchase of a contemporary work of art since the National Gallery acquired the work of Jackson Pollock. N ° 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) in 1976, ”said Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of the modern and contemporary art department.

For Ringgold, the American flag is a powerful and powerful symbol. She said: “The flag is the only truly subversive and revolutionary abstraction that can be painted. This painting is part of his first fully developed body of work, The American People Series (1963-1967). Considered her most powerful series, it presents unfazed and often confusing portrayals of racial tensions and political divisions in the United States in the 1960s.

The flag bleeds examines American identity and history in and through an iconic depiction of the flag, one of Ringgold’s iconic motifs. The painting features a semi-transparent American flag with colors that appear to bleed or flow as a bold backdrop to the ambiguous interactions of three characters – a black man, a white woman, and a white man – who stand with their arms tied. The black man, who holds a knife with one hand and covers his bleeding heart with the other, simultaneously protects the wound and pledges allegiance to the flag. The characters’ vague and shifting relationships evoke violent protests in Los Angeles, Detroit, Washington, DC, and elsewhere during the politically turbulent period of the civil rights and anti-war movements of the late 1960s.

Ringgold is a painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, writer, teacher and speaker whose multifaceted career spans six decades and encompasses a variety of media: paintings, prints, collages, drawings, sculptures, textiles and children’s books. Her works explore many themes – race, gender, and social class in the United States, as well as history, memory, family, community, and popular culture – all conveyed in a simplified representational style that ‘she called’ super realism ‘. Ringgold received his BA in Fine Arts and Education and his MA in Fine Arts from City College, New York, and is Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of California, San Diego. After struggling for many years to achieve true recognition in the art world, she has been acclaimed as one of the greatest artists of our time, receiving over 80 awards and honors, including 23 honorary doctorates.

Throughout her career, Ringgold has been driven by a commitment to political change and an interest in global art. In the early 1960s, she produced her first political paintings, The American People Series (1963-1967), and had his first and second solo exhibitions at the Spectrum Gallery in New York. In the early 1970s, Ringgold began making tankas (inspired by Tibetan art of paintings framed in richly stitched fabrics), soft sculptures, and masks. She then used this medium in her masked performances of the 1970s and 1980s. Inspired by African art of the 1960s, it was not until the late 1970s that she traveled to Nigeria and Ghana to see the rich tradition of masks which continued to have a great influence.

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