Now through October 7th the DePree Gallery is hosting a dual exhibition, “Hateful Things / Resilience.” This exhibit features racist memorabilia from the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, in parallel with works by major contemporary African American artists. The exhibit is “intended to encourage thoughtful, sensitive, and scholarly dialog concerning the history of race in America and how it was portrayed and persists in visual culture and fine art.”
Van Wylen Library has created a companion display of library resources to support the exhibit. It includes many of the books that are referenced in the Hateful Things exhibition, as well other resources highlighting the work of the Contemporary African American artists who are featured in Resilience, including Sanford Biggers, Faith Ringgold, and Romare Bearden. These materials can be browsed in the library or checked out for further research. Additional resources, including streaming videos, are available at http://libguides.hope.edu/hatefulthingsresilience
The exhibit also features a limited edition pop-up book by prominent contemporary artist Kara Walker, entitled Freedom : a fable : a curious interpretation of the wit of a negress in troubled times. In much of her art Walker uses powerful black silhouettes, many of which utilize racial stereotypes to confront the viewer around issues of slavery, power, race, gender and sexuality. This particular piece “tells the story of a female slave whose life after emancipation veers far from her dreams of meritocracy, revealing that Freedom, a Fable is not just the title of the work but is also the lesson to be learned.”
This piece was commissioned by the Peter Norton Family in 1997 and donated to Hope College by David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton as a part of a significant gift of art and art books given to the Kruizenga Art Museum and Van Wylen Library. If you would like to view this book in person or show it in a class, contact Jessica Hronchek.
Please come explore these materials and deepen the campus conversation around this important topic!