• Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields, 1991, Oil on canvas, 70 x 150 inches. Courtesy of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, GA

    Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields, 1991, Oil on canvas, 70 x 150 inches. Courtesy of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, GA

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today

Thursday, June 8, 2017 to Sunday, September 17, 2017
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today introduces the work of more than twenty exceptional artists in conversation with one another for the first time. With works in a range of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and drawing, the exhibition showcases a diverse range of unique visual vocabularies within non-representational expression. By highlighting these artists’ individual approaches to form, color, composition, material exploration and conceptual impetus within hard-edge and gestural abstraction, Magnetic Fields provides an expanded history of non-pictorial image and object-making. The exhibition not only celebrates these artists as leaders in the field, but also the enduring ability of abstraction to convey both personal iconography and universal themes.

The exhibition features a range of works, including early and later career examples, those of specific series, several exhibited for the first time, and the long awaited reappearance of iconic works such as Mavis Pusey’s large-scale painting Dejygea (1970) in The Whitney’s 1971 exhibition Contemporary Black Artists In America. Also drawn in part from the Kemper Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition features Chakaia Booker’s rubber tire sculpture El Gato (2001).

Magnetic Fields marks the first U.S. presentation dedicated exclusively to the formal and historical dialogue of abstraction by women artists of color.

EXHIBITION ARTISTS: Candida Alvarez (b. 1955), Betty Blayton (b. 1937, d. 2016), Chakaia Booker (b. 1953), Lilian Thomas Burwell (b. 1927), Nanette Carter (b. 1954), Barbara Chase-Riboud (b. 1939), Deborah Dancy (b. 1949), Abigail DeVille (b. 1981), Maren Hassinger (b. 1947), Jennie C. Jones (b. 1968), Evangeline “EJ” Montgomery (b. 1930), Mary Lovelace O’Neal (b. 1942), Howardena Pindell (b. 1943), Mavis Pusey (b. 1928), Shinique Smith (b. 1971), Gilda Snowden (b. 1954, d. 2014), Sylvia Snowden (b. 1942), Kianja Strobert (b. 1980), Alma Thomas (b. 1891, d. 1978), Mildred Thompson (b. 1936, d. 2003), Brenna Youngblood (b. 1979).


Exhibition Opening and Artist/Curator Panel Discussion with Special Guest Artists
Thursday, June 8, 5:00–7:00 p.m. exhibition opening and cash bar; 7:00 p.m. panel discussion
A conversation on topics of American abstraction (history, themes, and influence) kicks off the opening of the groundbreaking group exhibition Magnetic Fields, featuring artists Candida Alvarez, Lilian Thomas Burwell, and Shinique Smith, moderated by co-curators of the exhibition Erin Dziedzic and Melissa Messina. Members: show your membership card for a complimentary beverage at our cash bar beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Visit our online calendar for a complete list of upcoming programs.