In an article written by her daughter Michele Wallace, Faith Ringgold’s Black Light series is presented as part of an experiment in the 1960s quest for the creation of a “black aesthetics” best understood in relation to Ringgold’s life and the evolution of her oeuvre. Black collectives and groups such as Spiral, Weusi, Where We At, and AfriCOBRA have similarly pursued a uniquely black expression in the context of what came to be known as the Black Arts movement. Ringgold’s journey was singular in that it led her to activism in the larger art world and in the women’s movement, transforming Ringgold herself into a black feminist. At the same time, the Black Light series displays her formalist and aesthetic concerns regarding the larger American art scene, with which she was thoroughly familiar as a well-trained artist conversant with the European and American modernist canons. The series, only recently seen in its entirety in an exhibition curated by the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York, of Ringgold’s 1960s paintings, should be considered a brilliant contribution to the trajectory and consequently the narrative of American art at all levels.

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