Although Faith Ringgold is best known as the originator of the African-American story quilt revival that began in the 1970s, it is her pointed political paintings of the 1960s that are the focus of “American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s,” on view at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art from Feb. 2 through May 19, 2012.

Faith Ringgold, American People #18 The Flag is Bleeding, 1967, Oil on canvas 72 x 96 inches, Courtesy of Faith Ringgold and ACA Galleries, New York © Faith Ringgold 1967, Photo courtesy ACA Galleries, New York

This is Ringgold’s first solo exhibition in Atlanta since the High Museum presented the nationally-touring exhibition, “Faith Ringgold: A Twenty-Five Year Survey” in 1990.

The Ringgold exhibition is in keeping with the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art’s mission to emphasize art by and about women of the African Diaspora. “This year, the season of the Museum’s 15th anniversary, we have deliberately highlighted works from our permanent collection including Ringgold’s quilt ‘Groovin’ High,’ which is one of the College’s signature works,” said Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Museum director. “It is a privilege to present a solo exhibition featuring the work of an artist who has salient links to the permanent collection and whose influential efforts and advocacy for women artists made it possible for such a museum to even exist.”

With only a few notable exceptions, Ringgold’s once influential paintings disappeared from view and were omitted from critical, art historical discourse for more than 40 years. Coordinated to coincide with Ringgold’s 80th birthday, the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art exhibition includes approximately 60 works from the landmark series “American People” (1963-1967) and “Black Light” (1967-1971), along with a related mural and political posters. “American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s” was co-curated by Thom Collins, director of the Miami Art Museum, and Tracy Fitzpatrick, curator at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, where the exhibition opened to critical acclaim.

Courtesy of Museum Publicity.