Southeast Missouri State University

Looking Ahead: Portraits from the Mott-Warsh Collection

August 28-October 21, 2012
Print by Hank Willis Thomas



“Looking Ahead: Portraits from the Mott-Warsh Collection,” will be displayed beginning August 28, 2012 in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp Museum at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

The public is invited to attend a panel discussion at 6 p.m. on October 16. Panelists include Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, associate professor of Fine Art at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale; DeSande R., artist and educator;  and Malcolm McCrae, artist and entrepreneur, who will discuss the influence  of identity and cultural experience as  reflected in the portraits of  African Americans in the current  exhibition Looking Ahead: Portraits from  the Mott-Warsh Collection.

The exhibit will remain on display through October 21, 2012. Admission is free.

The exhibition, Looking Ahead: Portraits from the Mott-Warsh Collection, features the Black face in both representational and conceptual portraiture. The artists featured in this exhibition directly and indirectly examine the social, political and cultural nuances of the Black face and head in fine art and popular visual culture.  This theme of Black portraiture has been primarily explored in photography and literature, yet rarely in fine art museum exhibitions. Several of the works are self-portraits, and a few are portraits of artists who are represented in the Mott-Warsh Collection.

This exhibition features artwork in a variety of media: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture.  Several of the works are small, intimate pieces, while other works are large in scale and domineering in their presence. The Mott-Warsh Collection was initiated by Maryanne Mott and her husband, the late Herman Warsh in late 2001. With a focus on artworks created by artists of the African Diaspora, the Mott-Warsh Collection includes artworks produced in the 20th and 21st centuries by more than 150 artists, covering a range of media from drawing to painting, prints to photography and mixed media to sculpture.

Work by the following artists is featured in the exhibition:  Charles Alston, Robert Arneson, Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Mary Borgman, Elizabeth Catlett, Chuck Close, Diane Edison, Chester Higgins, Jr., Whitfield Lovell, Robert Mapplethorpe, Allie McGhee, Hank Willis Thomas, Mildred Thompson, Alphonse van Woerkom, Charles White, Peter Williams, John Wilson, Richard Wyatt, Jr. and Richard Yarde.


Exhibit organized by the Mott-Warsh Collection, Flint, Michigan Curated by Camille Ann Brewer. Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

The Crisp Museum is located in the Cultural Arts Center at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, 518 S. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, Missouri. For more information, Email museum@semo.edu or call (573) 651-2260.

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