‘Soul of a Nation’ opens at MFAH June 27

During a time when the nation is under racial duress, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is preparing to display “Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” in record time. The landmark exhibition, which explores what it meant to be an African American artist during the 1960s and 7’0s, will be on view in Houston June 27-Aug. 30.

The lockdown of 2020 delayed the opening of “Soul” at the MFAH, which is its final stop on its three-year tour, organized by the Tate Modern in London. Originally scheduled to open in April as the last stop on a three-year national tour, “Soul of a Nation” has been at San Francisco’s de Young Museum during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The show features work created by more than 60 Black artists during the revolutionary decades of American history that began with the Civil Rights Movement and extended to the emergence of identity politics in the early 1980s.

“Soul” features works created between the 1960s and the 1980s, and is presented in sections that follow themes around how its artists worked together in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Another part of the presentation focuses on the work of Betye Saar.

In addition, the MFAH will add a section from its own collection of art made by Black American artists in Houston and Texas during the period covered by the exhibition, including works by John Biggers, Kermit Oliver and Carroll Harris Simms.

“This new section contributes to a more comprehensive representation of Black American art during the same era and celebrates an important legacy of art making in Texas,” said the show’s Houston curator, Kanitra Fletcher.

“Soul of A Nation” will be on view in the Beck Building, 5601 Main. Timed entry tickets are recommended, and pandemic safety protocols are in place. Tickets are $12-$19; children 12 and under free; free to all on Thursdays. Call 713-639-7300 or visit mfah.org.