Two Detroit Shows Focus on Art of the Civil Rights Movement


“Three Queens” (1971), by Wadsworth Jarrell. Credit Detroit Institute of Arts

Flower-power highs and social-justice explosions: That was 1967 in America. The highs soon ended. But 50 years on, the explosions resonate. And one of them, the 1967 Detroit Rebellion, is being revisited in its source city. Of dozens of commemorative events organized under the auspices of the Detroit Historical Society, two are major museum shows.

“Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement” at the Detroit Institute of Art (through Oct. 22) focuses on five black artist collectives working in parallel across the country in the 1960s. One of them, AfriCOBRA in Chicago, with fabulous talent, formed in the wake of the Detroit rebellion. A second exhibition, “Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion,” at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (through Jan 2018), puts intensely political work from the civil rights and Black Power years in the larger context of black history, which is, by definition, also Detroit history. (;

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