Museum  February 15, 2018

The Seattle Art Museum Presents 'Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas'

© 2017 Estate of Robert Colescott / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Jean Paul Torno.

Robert Colescott, George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook, 1975, acrylic on canvas, 84 x 108 in., Private collection, Saint Louis. 

FIGURING HISTORY: ROBERT COLESCOTT, KERRY JAMES MARSHALL, MICKALENE THOMAS OPENS AT SEATTLE ART MUSEUM FEBRUARY 15

Three generations of contemporary American artists offer bold perspectives on Black culture and representation Dynamic lineup of public programs includes Marshall and Thomas in conversation at a free opening celebration

SEATTLE, WA – The Seattle Art Museum presents Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas (February 15–May 13, 2018), bringing together for the first time three leading American artists from three different generations whose work challenges a Western painting tradition that historically erases or misrepresents people of color. While each artist’s paintings are distinctive in style, subject matter, and the historic moments they reference, collectively they critique and redefine mainstream narratives of history and representation. At the heart of these artists’ portrayals are material and cultural histories centered on Black experiences and perspectives.

Organized by the Seattle Art Museum, the exhibition comprises 25 large-scale paintings on loan from institutions and collections across the country. It features a work from SAM’s collection—the recently acquired Les Demoiselles d'Alabama: Vestidas (1985) by Robert Colescott—as well as three paintings made by Mickalene Thomas specifically for the exhibition. She also presents a staged “living room” installation that visitors can interact with and sit in.

The living artists, Kerry James Marshall and Mickalene Thomas, will appear in conversation about their artistic practices at a free opening celebration.

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

Art Beyond Sight and docent tours, as well as programs for educators and school groups, will be held in conjunction with the exhibition in addition to the following public and family programs. Details are subject to change; additional programs or events may be added. For the most up-to-date information, go to visitsam.org/figuringhistory.

Thu Feb 15
Figuring History: Community Celebration 5–9 pm Seattle Art Museum

The whole community is invited to this free, family-friendly opening celebration featuring music, performances, art-making, an artist talk, and more. Presented by Delta Air Lines and Target. Sponsored by RealNetworks Foundation.

Thu Feb 15
SAM Talks: Kerry James Marshall and Mickalene Thomas 7–8 pm Seattle Art Museum

As part of the opening celebration, Figuring History artists Kerry James Marshall and Mickalene Thomas appear in conversation about their artistic practices.

Wed Feb 28
Complex Exchange: Figuring Black Futures Today 7–9 pm Northwest African American Museum

Presented in partnership with the Northwest African American Museum, Complex Exchange pairs Seattle community members from varying disciplines in a series of conversations related to issues of race, power, politics, and representation inspired by exhibitions on view at both institutions. Sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Company.

Thu Mar 1, Apr 5, May 3
Drop-In Studio: Creating History 6:30–7 pm Seattle Art Museum

Visit SAM on First Thursdays for a free drop-in art-making session inspired by Figuring History and led by local artists.

Fri Mar 2
First Friday Lecture: Catharina Manchanda 11
am – noon Seattle Art Museum
Join Catharina Manchanda, Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, as she discusses Figuring History.

Sat Mar 10
Family Fun Workshop: Home Is Where the Art Is 10 am–12:30 pm Seattle Art Museum

What makes a house a home? Reflect on images of home in Figuring History and create a diorama of your special place. For ages 3-6 and caregivers. Presented by Delta Air Lines and Target. Sponsored by RealNetworks Foundation.

Sat Mar 24
Family Fun Workshop: Poses and Postures Seattle Art Museum 10 am–12:30 pm

Explore images in Figuring History and get an introduction to figure drawing. For ages 6-10 and caregivers. Presented by Delta Air Lines and Target. Sponsored by RealNetworks Foundation.

Wed Mar 28
Complex Exchange: Figuring Black Futures Today 7–9 pm

Seattle Art Museum Presented in partnership with the Northwest African American Museum, Complex Exchange pairs Seattle community members from varying disciplines in a series of conversations related to issues of race, power, politics, and representation inspired by exhibitions on view at both institutions. Sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Company.

Fri Mar 30
SAM Remix 8
pm – midnight Seattle Art Museum
#SAMRemix returns, jam-packed with eclectic performances, tours, dancing, creating, and exploring SAM's collection and special exhibitions. Revive at Remix, a lively late-night out inspired by Figuring History. Remix is sponsored by Delta Air Lines and Starbucks Coffee Company. Media sponsors are The Stranger and KEXP 90.3 FM.

Sat Apr 7
Family Fun Workshop: All That Glitters 10 am–12:30 pm Seattle Art Museum

Roll up your sleeves and get arty with unconventional materials to create a mixed-media masterpiece inspired by Figuring History. For ages 3-6 and caregivers. Presented by Delta Air Lines and Target. Sponsored by RealNetworks Foundation.

Sat Apr 14
Legendary Children 8–11 pm Seattle Art Museum

Join us for a night of the beautiful, transgressive, and unique as we celebrate QTPOC communities. Featuring some of Seattle’s most talented queer artists, this event invites you to join in conversations sparked by Figuring History.

Sat Apr 21
Family Fun Workshop: Collage and Construct 10 am–12:30 pm Seattle Art Museum

Step outside the box and construct your own 3-D sculpture inspired by materials you see in Figuring History. For ages 6-10 and caregivers. Presented by Delta Air Lines and Target. Sponsored by RealNetworks Foundation.

Fri May 4
Teen Night Out 7–10 pm Seattle Art Museum

For teens by teens! Make the museum yours during this action-packed night for high school-age teens only. Inspired by Figuring History, this free event features DJs, teen art tours, and art-making led by local contemporary artists. Support for teen programs is provided by Hearst Foundations.