Explore Elizabeth Catlett’s influence with SCAD curator Humberto Moro
‘ELIZABETH CATLETT: POINTS OF CONTACT’
SEPT. 23, 2021 – JAN. 30, 2022
Presented in the SCAD Museum of Art’s Evans Center for African American Studies, Elizabeth Catlett: Points of Contact is a long overdue exploration of the artist’s profound influence on artistic practice today. The group exhibition brings to view key prints and sculptures by Catlett (1915–2012) — a citizen of both the U.S. and Mexico — in conversation with contemporary works by living artists from both countries. In showcasing the work of contemporary Black American and Mexican artists with strong connections — sometimes direct references — to Catlett’s work, the exhibition demonstrates how the artist’s influences, concerns, and questions are very much alive in global contemporary culture and artistic practice, and highlights the ways in which her works advocate for the dignity of all humans.
Catlett’s ouevre is canonical yet remains a discovery for many. On view in the exhibition, the artist’s signature figurative works in various mediums, including wood-block prints, wood carvings, and bronze sculptures, depict experiences of Black Americans and Indigenous Mexican people in the 20th century with clarity and precision. At the same time, the works celebrate womanhood and the strength of women of color in public roles such as maker, laborer, educator, and civil rights activist, as well as in the domestic space and familial roles of nurturer, mother, daughter, sister, and confidant. In these portrayals, Catlett reclaims the representation of her subjects in visual culture and fearlessly speaks truth to power. The conceptual framework of the presentation builds on previous scholarship in which the complexities of Catlett’s identity have unfolded and illuminates how her work meditates on these themes as realms of political resistance.
Elizabeth Catlett in collaboration with David Mora Catlett
About the artist
The descendent of enslaved people from North Carolina, Elizabeth Catlett (b. 1915, Washington, D.C.; d. 2012, Cuernavaca, Mexico) is considered one of the most important artists of the past century. Across her 60-year career, Catlett initiated a dialogue between the Black Arts movement in the U.S., Mexico’s pre-Hispanic sculptural language, and Mexican Muralism and Social Realism, producing politically charged and aesthetically compelling works that celebrate the dignity of women of color and ideals of human rights.
Elizabeth Catlett: Points of Contact is organized by SCAD Museum of Art adjunct curator Humberto Moro, curator DJ Hellerman, and assistant curator Brittany Richmond. It is the latest iteration in a series presented at the Evans Center, which has included exhibitions examining the work and impact of cultural figures such as Jacob Lawrence and Frederick Douglass.
The exhibition is free for museum members and SCAD students, faculty, and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.