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Black artists take on indifference, reframe history in new FIA exhibit

The Flint Institute of Art's exhibit Communitydraws attention to black spaces and black lives, in both quiet and dramatic ways. The pieces in the exhibition vary in medium and message, but the story they tell broadens our understanding of black history.

Detroit native Kelli Morgan is an associate curator of American Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. She gave a keynote lecture at a gala celebrating the opening of the exhibit last month. Morgan spoke with Stateside host April Baer about the history and meaning behind the pieces in Community as the two took a tour through the exhibit. 

Morgan sees the collection as a deep dive into black culture, as well as an opportunity to reevaluate the values system in the art world. That system, she said, is primarily based on the experiences of upper middle-class white people, who are often the ones making decisions about what art is displayed in museums.

“Shows like this are so important because you can see that there are other value systems, and black people have had relationships to artwork, to American artwork, to our own artistic and cultural production,” she explained.

Most of the pieces in Community are part of the FIA’s permanent collection. But the exhibit also features three pieces new to the museum. Visitors can vote on which piece they would like to become part of FIA’s collection. You can see those works in the slideshow above. 

Community is on display until April 19, 2020. More information can be found at the Flint Institute of Art’s website.

Support for arts and culture coverage on Stateside comes from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Editor's note: The Flint Institute of Art is a corporate sponsor of Michigan Radio. 

This post was written by Stateside production assistant Olive Scott. 

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