Jazz featured in new politically charged Tate Modern exhibition

“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” is an exhibition exploring how Black Art was defined and debated in America during the Civil Rights movement between 1963 and 1983. The show opened at the Tate Modern in London, United Kingdom, on July 12 and will run through October 22.

According to an official statement, the exhibition “shines a bright light on the vital contribution of Black artists to a dramatic period in American art and history.” The show opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. Artists responded to these times by provoking confronting and confounding expectations through paintings, murals, collage, photography, clothing designs, and sculpture made with a wide variety of materials, such as hair, melted records, and tights.

Jazz music has a strong presence throughout the exhibition. For example, “Soul of a Nation” features works by William T. Williams, the artist who translated the music of saxophonist and composer John Coltrane into colorful abstract painting. Furthermore, a playlist of music from the 60’s and 70’s accompanying the exhibition includes many jazz tracks by such artists as Joe Henderson, the Mandingo Griot Society with Don Cherry, and more. All tracks were selected by the exhibition curators Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley.

For more information on “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” go to http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/soul-nation-art-age-black-power

Matt Micucci

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