Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts / Edition 1

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"My process is designed to give us 'colored folk' and women a taste of the American dream straight up. Since the facts don't do that too often, I decided to make it up. . . . That is the real power and joy of being an artist. We can make it come true. Or look true."—Faith Ringgold, in a 1992 interview

This catalog is the first book-length publication devoted to the exquisite story quilts of contemporary artist Faith Ringgold. Combining painted images, handwritten texts, and quilting techniques, Ringgold weaves together modernist painting; feminist critique; postmodernist strategies of appropriation, parody, and montage; and personal memoir in a remarkable synthesis that takes on European modernism, African American folk art, and the "black aesthetic" of the 1960s and 1970s. The catalog accompanies an exhibition of The French Collection and The American Collection, a series of story quilts Ringgold has produced since 1990. Catalog essays include an examination of Ringgold's stylistic development through the 1960s and 1970s, an exploration of the social and political aspects of the story quilts, and a recollection by the artist's daughter, writer Michele Wallace.

Ringgold has adapted the tradition of the American slave quilt to create a world in which African Americans and women dominate, where history is not only questioned but also reinvented. The titles of the quilts in Ringgold's French Collection and American Collection suggest her subject range and daring: Jo Baker's Birthday Party; Dinner at Gertrude Stein's; A Portrait of Aunt Jemima; Tubman, Douglass, and Truth: Wanted Dead or Alive are examples. Faith Ringgold's broad audience of admirers (her books for children have won Caldecott and New York Times book illustration honors) will welcome Dancing at the Louvre. Finally there is a book that displays her artistic achievements and provides a full discussion of her importance within contemporary art.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
My process is dsigned to give us 'colored folk' and women a taste of the American dream straignt up. Since the facts don't do that too often, I decided to make it up. . . .That is the real power and joy of being an artist. We can make it come true. Or look true.
School Library Journal
This book, which is designed to accompany a traveling exhibition of Faith Ringgold's work, gives young adults an opportunity to observe the stylistic, social, and political development of the African-American artist, writer, and storyteller. Essays by members of the art community present views of Ringgold's work and influences. The highlight of the book is the section of fine-quality full-color plates of the artist's unique and beautiful creations and the texts from several of her story quilts. The personal narratives cover an amazing array of topics as diverse as Jim Crow and Matisse's 'La Danse' The artist uses 'magic realism,' true artistic license, in many of her pieces, incorporating in the same scene historical figures who could never have met. Her successful journey through an often sexist and racist art world, while perhaps not magical, is impressive. Ringgold has not only created her own path; she has also provided young artists with a clear path and a direction to follow through her art and her words. -- Nancy Karst, Fairfax County Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520214309
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 10.38 (w) x 10.38 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Powell is Associate Professor of Art History at Duke University. Dan Cameron is Editor of Dancing at the Louvre and Senior Curator at The New Museum of Contemporary Art. Ann Gibson is Associate Professor and Associate Director of Publications of the Humanities
Institute at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Thalia Gouma-Peterson is Professor of Art History and museum director at The College of Wooster. Patrick Hill is a doctoral candidate in the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Moira Roth is Trefethen Professor of Art History at Mills College. Michele Wallace is Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center.

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Table of Contents

Exhibition Tour
Introduction: Faith Ringgold's French Connection 1
Living History: Faith Ringgold's Rendezvous with the Twentieth Century 5
The French Collection: Momma Jones, Mommy Fay, and Me 14
The Castration of Memphis Cooly: Race, Gender, and Nationalist Iconography in the Flag Art of Faith Ringgold 26
Faith Ringgold's Journey: From Greek Busts to African American Dilemma Tales 39
Of Cotton and Sunflower Fields: The Makings of The French and The American Collection 49
Faith Ringgold's Picasso's Studio 64
Selected works by Faith Ringgold 75
Quilt Stories: A Selection 129
Chronology for Faith Ringgold 149
Selected Recent Exhibitions 153
Selected Bibliography 155
Contributors 159
Lenders to the Exhibition 161
Index 163
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