Through April 28
Mennello Museum of American Art
900 E. Princeton St.
Rarely do we see a show that’s framed in the context of an officially designated month that does its subject justice. Take, for instance, Black History Month – lots of museums and schools and galleries will try to hastily pull together an educational presentation to celebrate the fact that February is when we’ve decided to honor the culture and heritage of African-Americans, but few will manage to pull something off that’s exciting and relevant showing the recent contributions that black artists, historical figures and leaders have made to the dialogue that shapes our current state of affairs. Which is why we’re looking forward to this show at the Mennello. Organized by the senior curator of painting and sculpture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this show isn’t stuck in the bookish and dutiful past. Rather, it contains work that examines the role that African-American artists played in significant movements – the jazz age, postmodernism, abstraction, etc. – that continue to shape the cultural landscape. In other words, this show is more than just a historical overview – it’s a chance to perhaps get a glimpse into the future, as well. – Erin Sullivan