Figures from the Collection offers various artists’ perspectives on people and their surroundings. The works’ subject matter ranges from autobiographical and inclusive of friends and acquaintances to historical or completely fictional. Taken entirely from the Modern’s permanent collection, the exhibition includes paintings, photographs, videos, prints, and drawings.
Nina Chanel Abney's paintings are visually frenetic, reflecting the fast-paced energy of life today. Her imagery refers to such diverse subjects as pop culture, world events, and art history in compositions with flattened, simplified forms. Abney's works commonly incorporate snippets of text, disembodied figures and silhouettes, and geometric abstract shapes. Themes that relate to American society, including celebrity culture, race, sexuality, and police brutality, are broached in her paintings.
A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries — and path of promise toward the American dream — Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been unapologetically Black for more than 150 years. For the first time ever, their story is told.