Rice University to exhibit African-American art for centennial

‘Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African-American Art’ runs Sept. 13 through Nov. 18  

African-American art will be exhibited at the Rice University Art Gallery this fall as part of the school’s celebration of its 100th anniversary. “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African-American Art” will be on view Sept. 13 through Nov. 18.

The opening will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, and will feature a talk by exhibition curator Adrienne Childs, an independent scholar, art historian and the Shelia Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for the Study of African and African-American Research at Harvard University. The event is free and open to the public.

Carl Christian, Here Comes the Sun, 1993; Photo: Greg Staley © Carl Christian

Larry and Brenda Thompson, parents of 1998 Rice alumnus Larry Thompson Jr., have collected works by acknowledged masters and by emerging and regional artists.

“Rice University is deeply grateful to Larry and Brenda Thompson for the opportunity to host this nationally recognized collection of 19th and 20th-century African-American art during our centennial year,” university President David Leebron said. “Art is one of the important ways we seek to understand our society and express the human experience, and this exhibition is part of Rice’s increasing commitment to bringing important works of art to our campus. We welcome the Houston community to Rice to enjoy this unique and remarkable collection, along with all our other public art.”

“Tradition Redefined” was first curated by Childs for the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts at University of Maryland, College Park, and presents the breadth of the Thompsons’ art collection, which spans the 1890s to 2007.

Featuring 72 works by 67 artists, the exhibition seeks to redefine the canon of African-American art by offering a more in-depth, inclusive presentation of the artists and their aesthetic and social concerns, according to the Driskell Center. Among the artists represented are Romare Bearden, Thelma Johnson Streat, Henry O. Tanner, Radcliffe Bailey, Howardena Pindell and William T. Williams, as well as other artists identified by the Thompsons, including Stefanie Jackson, Preston Sampson and Joyce Wellman.

All of the artists in the exhibition have strong ties to Atlanta, the center of a long-thriving African-American arts community, where the Thompsons have resided for several decades.

For more information about “Tradition Redefined,” the Thompsons, Childs and related events, see http://traditionredefined.rice.edu and www.ricegallery.org/new/calendar.

For more information about Rice’s centennial, which the university will officially celebrate Oct. 10-14, see http://centennial.rice.edu.

Admission, opening hours and parking information:

Rice Gallery admission is free. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays until 7 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is closed Mondays and university holidays.

Located on the Rice campus at 6100 Main St. in Houston, the gallery is on the ground floor of Sewall Hall near campus Entrance 1, at the intersection of Main Street and Sunset Boulevard. Paid parking (credit card only) is available in the Founder’s Court Visitor Lot directly in front of Sewall Hall. For a map, visit rice.edu/parking.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.