Media advisory: ‘African Modernism in America’ exhibition preview

Uche Okeke, “Ana Mmuo (Land of the Dead),” 1961. Oil on board, 36 1/16 x 48 in. National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Joanne B. Eicher and Cynthia, Carolyn Ngozi, and Diana Eicher. © 1961 Uche Okeke, courtesy of Professor Uche Okeke Legacy Limited and American Federation of Arts. (Photo: Franko Khoury)

WHO: Curator Perrin Lathrop

WHAT: Media preview of “African Modernism in America”

WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, March 10

WHERE: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis

In the mid-20th century, a series of global shifts, including African decolonization and the U.S. civil rights movement, led artists to synthesize and integrate different visual and cultural traditions, exploring a new politics of form.

This spring, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis will present “African Modernism in America.” Organized by the American Federation of Arts and Fisk University Galleries in Nashville, Tenn., the exhibition is the first traveling survey to examine both the diverse aesthetic strategies employed by African artists in the years after World War II and their complex relationships with American artists, scholars, patrons and cultural organizations.

Drawn primarily from the Fisk University collections, the exhibition features more than 70 artworks by 50 artists, including Congolese painter Pilipili Mulongoy, Tanzanian painter Sam Joseph Ntiro and Nigerian painters Demas Nwoko, Uche Okeke and Etso Clara Ugbodaga-Ngu, alongside African American contemporaries such as John Biggers, David C. Driskell and Jacob Lawrence.

The exhibition will remain on view through Aug. 6.

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING: The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is located at the east end of Washington University’s Danforth Campus, near the intersection of Skinker and Lindell boulevards. Validated parking will be available in the university’s east end garage. Entrances to the garage are located on Forsyth Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway, just west of the respective intersections with Skinker.

TOUR AND INTERVIEWS: The preview will feature a brief exhibition tour led by curator Perrin M. Lathrop, assistant curator of African art at the Princeton University Art Museum, and by the Kemper Art Museum’s Sabine Eckmann, the William T. Kemper Director and Chief Curator. To arrange individual interviews afterward, please contact Liam Otten at 314-874-6331 or

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