Charles White Was a Giant, Even Among the Heroes He Painted

At the Museum of Modern Art, the first full-scale look at Charles White’s career in about three decades traces a broad pattern of 20th-century African-American life.


Comments: 12

  1. It appears the exhibition will be in NY and LA. I hope it is extended to other cities. Would love to see it here in St. Louis.

  2. I’ve been to this exhibit twice now and look forward to returning again and again. I’m a 64 year old white man who has become aware of the racist views that pop up in my mind like a bad habit which are borne of ignorance. Besides marveling at the work of this astonishing artist, my racist views are falling away with each visit.

    MoMa has put together an emotionally moving exhibit. The audio guide was essential to my understanding of the art.

  3. Dear Woodylimes,
    I’m so pleased for you! Next time
    someone says to me that the Arts don’t matter I’ll be able to use your
    response to Mr. White’s paintings
    as a lesson for all time. Thank
    you for writing honestly about
    your attitudes and your journey
    away from their destructiveness.

  4. What a great article on Mr. White. I hope this gets shared because sadly, most blacks don't subscribe or read the NYT.

  5. @Mr. Slater in this country at this time - neither do most whites.

  6. Thank you so much for this article! It is about time that this man is getting the attention he so deserves! I saw his work for the first time 20 years ago and it profoundly touched me then, as it does now. I teach middle school visual arts in the city and love sharing the work of Charles White with my students! There is such an expressive, spiritual element to all his pieces. Hearing kids give critiques of his work, as they start to embark on going deeper in their own drawing, is, well.. heaven. He invites so much empathy through his work, and that banishes isolation for us all.

  7. "What a beautiful artist Charles White was." And what an exceptionally fine art critic Mr. Cotter is. I owe him my introduction to numerous forms of expressive culture, from casta paintings to quilts. I live in Europe. Perhaps the MOMA venue will encourage curators this side of the Atlantic to bring this extraordinary exhibit to a wider public.
    Thank you.

  8. This is a GREAT artist. For the ages.

  9. Fabulous art and artist. I'd love it if his work could come to Houston. I've had the privilege of viewing John Biggers work in Houston and Barkley Hendricks work at Duke and must admit Charles White is up there with modern masters.

  10. As a white Englishman I am moved by the power and strength of Charles White's work! I would love to see the exhibition come to London.

  11. Although familiar with some of Charles White's work, it was a pleasure and a revelation for me to see his fuller oeuvre in the MoMA exhibition, which I went to a few days ago. White's movement from abstract, sharp-edged imagery to a more rounded technique is particularly striking. Most important of all was White's insistence on depicting black people as members of the human family, which was an act of defiance during a time when African Americans were insultingly caricatured and represented as anything except as the human beings they were and are. This is an important show, and MoMA is to be commended for giving White's work the attention it has long deserved.

  12. Whoa! How do I not know of this artist? Wish I lived in NYC so I could see this exhibit. Very impressed!