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Previous Exhibitions

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Point of View: African American Art Masters from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection

January 20 - April 13, 2014

Point of View is the main title for two exhibitions and a catalogue, all drawn from the impressive African American and African Diaspora art collection of Elliot and Kimberly Perry. The exhibitions and catalogue are the result of a three-way partnership between Elliot and Kimberly Perry, the Flint Institute of Arts, and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Each has a distinct subtitle... Click here to read more »


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Works of Art by the Wright Angels

December 12, 2013 - March 9, 2014

The Wright Museum has an extraordinary contingent of volunteers who call themselves the Wright Angels. This exhibition, which is named for them, includes works by volunteers Walter Bailey, Lorraine Tyler, Clifford Wade, and Sharon E. Williams-Dean. Also included are interns Chloe Seabrooks-Welk and Shawnda Warren, and staff member Kevin Davidson, the museum's director of design and fabrication... Click here to read more »


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Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil

August 15, 2013 - January 5, 2014

The first major traveling exhibition of popular art from northeastern Brazil, Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints includes nearly 200 works of art by more than 50 artists, and tells the story of how African, European, and indigenous cultural traditions have interacted over a period of more than 500 years to form the distinctive culture of this fascinating area of the largest country in South America... Click here to read more »


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The Bombay Sapphire® Artisan Series at The Wright Museum

October 25 - December 8, 2013

Detroit area artists submitted 147 works of art to the annual Bombay Sapphire® Artisan Series competition, 24 pieces of which were selected for inclusion in this exhibition, which includes works of emerging, experienced, and master artists such as Clifford Wade, Valencia Brockington, Lobyn Hamilton, Raymond Wells, Desiree Kelly, and Allie McGhee. One artist from the exhibition and two from the online competition will be selected to travel, along with his or her art, to Art Basel in Miami, Florida... Click here to read more »


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Inspiration Through Art: Works by Darold Gholston and Henry T. Heading

July 25 - October 13, 2013

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Contemporary Artists Program is pleased to present the works of Metro Detroit artists, Darold Gholston and Henry T. Heading whose artistic renderings speak to contemporary realism—their perceptions about the beauty of life and the realities of the modern age. Gholston and Heading’s universal themes touch upon timeless beauty and offer reflections of social values and inspirations of life through art... Click here to read more »


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Visions of Our 44th President

September 20, 2012 - July 31, 2013

Visions of Our 44th President, a groundbreaking, collective art exhibit, was created to honor and celebrate the significance of the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama.  Forty-four busts was created from a model that served as a blank canvas, giving each of forty-four contemporary artists from across the country free reign to creatively interpret this milestone in American history... Click here to read more »


The Chris Webber Collection: Exceptional People During Extraordinary Times, 1755 - Present

The Chris Webber Collection: Exceptional People During Extraordinary Times, 1755 - Present

April 7, 2011 - July 31, 2013

Chris Webber, Detroit native, National Basketball Association All-Star player (retired) and NBA announcer, collects rare artifacts that illuminate the lives and legacies of African American greats such as Phillis Wheatley, the first African American author; Rosa Parks, mother of the modern civil rights movement; civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and many others. Initially, the items were for Webber's personal inspiration... Click here to read more »


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Complex Movements' Beware of the Dandelions (Work-In-Progress)

June 14 - July 14, 2013

Complex Movements' Beware of the Dandelions (work-in-progress) is a 30 minute multi-media performance and installation about transformation and social justice movements as complex systems. Inspired by Grace Lee Boggs and decentralized community-led social justice movements in Detroit and beyond, the journey provokes audience members to explore the premise that change occurs through critical connections rather than critical mass. Through non linear narrative, interactive hip-hop performance, video projection and creative technologies, the installation explores the relationship between art, science and social justice movements... Click here to read more »


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Size Matters: Large-Scale Paintings from the Collections of the Charles H. Wright Museum

January 11 - May 17, 2013

Size Matters presents fifteen contemporary large-scale paintings by twelve artists from diverse genres. The title is a double entendre that suggests two meanings: the significance of size and the problems associated with it.  In the visual arts, size is concerned with scale and proportion. On one hand, scale refers to the size of a whole object in relationship to another whole object. In experiencing the scale of an artwork, we tend to compare its size to that of our bodies... Click here to read more »


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Pathways to Freedom in the Americas: Shared Experiences between Michigan and Mexico

November 16, 2012 - March 31, 2013

Pathways to Freedom in the Americas is an exhibition inspired by the meeting of two women who became fast friends - Patricia Ann Talley, an African American from the United States of America, and Candelaria Donají Méndez Tello, an Afro-Mexican from Mexico (the United Mexican States).  Through their discussions, they learned about the parallel histories of their ancestors who were brought to the Americas via the trans Atlantic slave trade.... Click here to read more »


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A Very Present Force: Celebrating a Century of the Detroit Branch NAACP

November 14, 2012 - March 24, 2013

The Detroit Branch NAACP has long been a trailblazing civil rights organization. Since its formation in 1912 - only three years after the founding of the national association - the Detroit Branch NAACP has been on the frontlines of civil rights activism and advocacy, both locally and throughout the nation. A Very Present Force celebrates this sustained and important century-long struggle for equal opportunity and social justice... Click here to read more »


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Moving to His Own Beat - Fela: The Man, The Movement, The Music

January 13, 2012 - March 17, 2013

Created in partnership with Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts to prelude the arrival of the Broadway smash musical, Fela!, this exhibition celebrates the life and music of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a dynamic figure who transcended the boundaries of political expectation and culturally coerced standards of morality. His undying passion for African peoples, understanding of the power of art and politics, and unyielding struggle against the colonial forces in Nigeria during the 1950s and 1960s... Click here to read more »


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Great American Artists - Part III: The Seeds

September 6, 2012 - January 6, 2013

This yearlong exhibition features the works of a consortium of Detroit artists in a three-part series subtitled, "Roots, Branches, and Seeds." During the past several years, each artist has collaborated to complete a portrait of a group member and to document each other’s studio processes, techniques and themes. This cooperative provides the group a means of documenting and preserving each artist’s image and their careers.  Exhibiting third are Sydney G. James, Mario Moore and Endia Beal who form the “Seeds” of the group... Click here to read more »


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Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney

June 14 - September 9, 2012

Experience the art of Jerry Pinkney, a master of the American picture book whose powerful, heart-warming stories reflect personal and cultural themes, and explore the African-American experience in words and pictures. This exhibition, celebrating an artistic journey that has continued for 50 years, offers memorable perspectives on life's small but extraordinary moments and on significant historical events that are brought into focus through his art... Click here to read more »


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Great American Artists - Part II: The Branches

May 3 - September 2, 2012

This yearlong exhibition features the works of a consortium of Detroit artists in a three-part series subtitled, "Roots, Branches, and Seeds." During the past several years, each artist has collaborated to complete a portrait of a group member and to document each other’s studio processes, techniques and themes. This cooperative provides the group a means of documenting and preserving each artist’s image and their careers.  Exhibiting second are Christopher Batten, Halima Cassels and Senghor Reid who form the “Branches” of the group... Click here to read more »


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The King Center Imaging Project

August 14 - 19, 2012

The King Center Imaging Project was initiated at the request of the King Center, which asked JPMorgan Chase to use its technological expertise and financial resources to digitize Dr. Martin Luther King’s archives and help make them available to new generations of people across the globe. To commemorate the archive, JPMorgan Chase has created a traveling exhibit that has been touring the nation... Click here to read more »


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Mixing Metaphors: The Aesthetic, Social and Political in African American Art

February 3 - June 3, 2012

Organized and sponsored by Bank of America, Mixing Metaphors is an exhibition composed of more than 90 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media works by 36 artists including Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. The exhibition draws its inspiration from the different artists' visions and their use of technique to convey compelling stories. Click here to read more »


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Great American Artists - Part I: The Roots

January 12 - April 29, 2012

Subtitled "Roots, Branches, and Seeds," Great American Artists is a yearlong exhibition of new figurative works by artists Christopher Batten, Endia Beal, Halima Cassells, Alonzo Edwards, Sydney James, Gregory Johnson, Richard Lewis, Mario Moore, Sabrina Nelson and Senghor Reid. Click here to read more »


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We Don't Want Them: A History of Detroit's Housing Segregation

February 1 - 27, 2012

This traveling exhibit showcasing the history of housing segregation in Detroit provides a powerful backdrop for local dialogue on issues of difference, structural discrimination and immigration. Through reproductions of historic documents and photographs, viewers will learn about the causes and effects of residential segregation.  Click here to read more »


Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts

Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts

June 16, 2011 - January 16, 2012

Dance Theatre of Harlem has made history in the 40 years since Arthur Mitchell and the late Karel Shook founded it in 1969. This multimedia exhibit captures the majesty of the choreography, the beauty of the costuming, the dancers who defied gravity and stereotyping, plus Mitchell's wide-ranging accomplishments. Click here to read more »


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Perceptions: The Art of Barbara Brown King and Carole Morisseau

September 1, 2011 - January 8, 2012

This exhibition features the work of two extraordinary, multifaceted women who are career artists based in Detroit, Michigan. Barbara Brown King's and Carole Morisseau's works of art are presented together in this exhibition because of their natural proclivity to observe and record their perceptions of life in paint. Click here to read more »


The Heidelberg Project: Art, Energy, and Community

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March 31 - December 31, 2011

The Heidelberg Project, founded by artist Tyree Guyton and using art to "provoke thought, promote discussion, inspire action and heal communities..." is recognized as one of the most influential open-air art environments in the world. Guyton uses found objects to create a two-block area full of color symbolism, and intrigue. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Project is recognized internationally as a demonstration of how creativity can transform lives. Click here to read more »


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The Test: Tuskegee Airmen Project

November 18, 2010 - August 28, 2011

The Test" is an exhibition about the first African American aviators in the U.S. Military in combat in World War Two. The aviators were part of an effort by the War Department to determine if African-Americans had the capabilities to be effective combat aviators. This became known as the "Tuskegee Experiment". In early 1943, the first squadron of black aviators deployed to North Africa to enter combat and to begin critical the test phrase of the "Tuskegee Experiment"... Click here to read more »


Eyes on Africa and the African Diaspora: The Photography of Asha Walidah and Bill Gosa

Eyes on Africa and the African Diaspora: The Photography of Asha Walidah and Bill Gosa

April 21 - August 28, 2011

This exhibition features the work of Asha Walidah and Bill Gosa, fine art photographers who travel the world capturing stunning images that reflect people of African descent in Africa and in the western hemisphere. Walidah's and Gosa's separate odysseys have taken them to countries in Africa, islands in the Caribbean, and cities in the United States. Click here to read more »


Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise: An Artist's Journey

Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise: An Artist's Journey

January 17 - May 29, 2011

In Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise: An Artist's Journey, Gale Fulton Ross utilizes a multifaceted approach to describe her journey from confusion and despair to self-forgiveness, enlightenment, and artistic freedom. Her first-person visual narrative is loosely based on Dante's Divine Comedy, an epic poem written in the 12th century. Like the protagonist in Dante's poem, trusted historical luminaries, Aunt Jemima and Sojourner Truth, guide Ross through the inferno of Hell, the misery of Purgatory, and the ecstasy of Paradise. Click here to read more »


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Framed Stories: The Art of Carmen Cartiness Johnson and Jerome Wright

December 17, 2010 - April 11, 2011

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Contemporary Artists Program is pleased to present the Framed Stories of Carmen Johnson, currently living in Antonio, Texas and Jerome Wright, currently living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The artists were paired together in this two-person exhibition because they have several artistic similarities: they are largely self-trained, they enjoy creating narrative art, and they demonstrate postmodern sensibilities. Click here to read more »


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Crowning Glories: Status, Style, and Self-Expression

January 18, 2010 - March 13, 2011

Crowning Glories is a tribute to the beauty, style, and self-expression of black women, and a historical survey of their hat-wearing traditions from the late 1700s to the present. The tradition of African American women adorning themselves with extraordinary headwear goes back generations. Wrapping one's head with cloth, for example, finds its roots among West African women. This practice, which survived the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, continues to be part of black women's cultural heritage in the United States and throughout the Americas... Click here to read more »


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Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images, 1980 - 2000

September 24, 2010 - March 13, 2011

Organized by The Michigan Chapter of the National Conference of Artists, Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images is presented in accordance with the mission and traditions of the NCA — to introduce the works of African American "Master" artists to the world. Included are works of art created by those who made significant contributions to the discipline from 1980-2000. Click here to read more »


THEM: Images of Separation

THEM: Images of Separation

February 21 - March 5, 2011

THEM: Images of Separation is a traveling exhibition showcasing items from popular culture used to stereotype different groups. The negative imagery - found on postcards, license plates, games, souvenirs and costumes - promoted stereotyping against such groups as Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and poor whites, as well as those who are "other" in terms of body type or sexual orientation. Through 35 separate framed pieces (some with multiple items, such as postcards), "THEM" tackles some of the most contentious, cultural hot-button issues: anti-Arab sentiment, Holocaust denial, "don't ask, don't tell" and immigration. Click here to read more »


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Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment

October 1, 2010 - January 2, 2011

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Harlem's Apollo Theater the Smithsonian presents Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment. The exhibition traces the evolution of the Apollo—from its origins as a segregated burlesque hall to its starring role at the epicenter of African American entertainment and American popular culture. Click here to read more »


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Celebrating Figurative Art: The Works of Mychael Shane, Zeina Carla Washington, and Denemours L. Lockeet

April 16 - August 22, 2010

The works of art created by the artists featured in Celebrating the Figure are strikingly different from each other in several ways. Each artist has his or her own style, medium, and palette. Mychael Shane is a scratchboard artist who uses a multiplicity of lines to create stark black and white images. Zeina Carla Washington is a mixed-media artist whose paintings are created with vibrant colors. Illustration artist, Denemours L. Lockeet, uses pencils to create... Click here to read more »


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Portrayals of Life and Landscapes: The Art of Frank Kelley, Jr.

August 27 - December 12, 2010

Organized by the Contemporary Artist Program of the Charles H. Wright Museum, Portrayals of Life and Landscapes: The Art of Frank Kelley, Jr. features more than 30 of Kelley's paintings. His art incorporates numerous styles and subjects. Primarily a regional painter, he draws upon sources from his roots in North Central Louisiana. The people, places, and events that he experienced while growing up in this culturally rich area.... Click here to read more »


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Joe Louis: Hometown Hero

August 6, 2009 - September 15, 2010

This comprehensive exhibition on the life of an iconic Detroit native is a must for sports fans everywhere. Born the son of an Alabama cotton picker, Joe Louis, known to many as the African American heavyweight champion named the "Brown Bomber," became a national hero and symbol of American democracy versus Nazi intolerance. Muhammad Ali said of Joe Louis, "I just give lip service to being the greatest. He was the greatest." The sportswriter, Jimmy Cannon, summed the Brown Bomber up best when he wrote; "He was a credit to his race – the human race." Click here to read more »


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Who Am I? My DNA Diary

November 15, 2009 - September 9, 2010

Who Am I? My DNA Diary is an exhibition of National Geographic and IBM's Genographic Project in tandem with Lucy, The Story of Human Origins from the International Museum Institute of New York. This double feature challenges preexisting notions of race and ethnicity by showing that the more we understand "the collective journey of humankind, the more likely we are to see each other as members of the same extended family." Click here to read more »


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