The exhibition Charles White and the Legacy of the Figure: Celebrating the Gordon Gift is one of two exhibitions on master American artist Charles White that will be mounted at the University of Texas at Austin in fall, 2019. The exhibitions celebrate a major donation of White’s artworks by Susan G. and Edmund W. Gordon in 2014, just as they participate in the centennial commemoration of the artist’s birth. Containing a painting, several large-scale drawings, and a number of prints by master American artist Charles White (1918-1979), the gift represents a major boost to the reputation of the campus’ already prodigious collections, contributes to a more holistic understanding of American modernism, and makes UT a crucial destination to research Charles White, African American art, and American social realism.
Charles White and the Legacy of the Figure: Celebrating the Gordon Gift examines White’s influence on his students, in particular Kerry James Marshall, as well as on younger generations of artists—such as Deborah Roberts, Michael Ray Charles, and Vincent Valdez—who also portray the human body. Particularly compelling is why these artists depict minoritized individuals and what political work such representations do.
— Dr. Cherise Smith
At the Blanton Museum of Art, Charles White: Celebrating the Gordon Gift features White’s drawings and prints alongside work by those in his circle, such as Thomas Hart Benton and David Alfaro Siqueiros, revealing the artist’s engagement with his peers and mastery of significant stylistic traditions. Fighting against widely circulating racist representations of Black people, White created images of African Americans endowed with “truth, dignity, and beauty.” The exhibition runs from September 7th - December 1st, 2019 in the Blanton's Paper Vault.