Whitney Museum Presents Survey of Archibald Motley Paintings

Archibald Motley, Blues, 1929

The Whitney Museum of American Art will present Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, the first retrospective of this pioneering artist in New York City in more than two decades. The exhibition will be on view from October 2, 2015 through January 17, 2016 in the Hurst Family Galleries.

Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and Dean of Humanities at Duke University, who curated the exhibition, writes: “Archibald Motley offers a fascinating glimpse into a modernity filtered through the colored lens and foci of a subjective African American urban perspective. Fusing psychology, a philosophy of race, upheavals of class demarcations, and unconventional optics, Motley’s art wedged itself between, on the one hand, a Jazz Age set of iconographic cultural passages, and on the other hand, an American version of Weimar Germany.”

The exhibition is comprised of forty-two painting spanning 1919 to 1963 offering a full-scale survey of Motley’s career and a rare opportunity to see such a large collection of his relatively small surviving body of work.