Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis
Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis was featured on CBS News Sunday Morning!
“This show, with nearly 100 works, should go a long way to repositioning Lewis in the canon of American postwar innovators.” The Guardian
“A welcome opportunity to assess the rich and varied path of Lewis’s art.” The New York Times
"Whatever their subject matter, his paintings reveal there is no color barrier to transcendence." The Wall Street Journal
Read about Norman Lewis in "Black Artists and the March into the Museum," a recent front-page article in The New York Times.
Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis (1909-1979), is the first comprehensive museum overview of this influential artist, who explored multiple styles and whose extraordinary work spanned several decades of the 20th century. Norman Lewis was a pivotal figure in American art, a participant in the Harlem art community, an innovative contributor to Abstract Expressionism, and a politically-conscious activist. Bringing together works from major international public and private collections, the exhibition is organized with the full support of Lewis’ family.
It includes approximately 90 paintings and works on paper dating from the early 1930s through the late 1970s, as well as archival materials from the artist’s estate. The exhibition highlights the diverse visual apparatus Lewis explored in parallel groups of works over the course of his career.
The “procession” in the exhibition’s title evokes Lewis’ intriguing painterly process and highlights a prominent thread that runs through his oeuvre: the procession ritual. Processions were both celebratory and terrifying for Lewis, equally carrying allusions to Carnevale and Ku Klux Klan marches. Such duality was at the heart of his artistic practice, which consistently employed modes of representation and abstraction; geometric and organic form; and emotional content ranging from joy to rage.
Procession considers the complexity of Lewis’ art in its entirety: It examines the role of figuration within Abstract Expressionism, considers how Lewis integrated social issues with abstraction, and highlights the surprising and expressive palette the artist championed throughout his career.
For more, see Stone and Metal: Lithographs and Etchings by Norman Lewis, the companion exhibition to Procession.
After the PAFA presentation, Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis will travel to additional venues:
Amon Carter Museum of American Art
June 4 - August 21, 2016
Chicago Cultural Center
September 17, 2016 - January 8, 2017
For more on PAFA's exhibitions on tour, click here.