Now Dig This!
Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980

October 21, 2012–March 11, 2013

Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 chronicles the vital legacy of the African American arts community in Los Angeles, examining a pioneering group of black artists whose work and connections with other artists of varied ethnic backgrounds helped shape the creative output of Southern California. The exhibition presents approximately 140 works by thirty-two artists active during this historical period, exploring the rising strength of the black community in Los Angeles as well as the increasing political, social, and economic power of African Americans across the nation.

Several prominent black artists began their careers in the Los Angeles area, including Melvin Edwards, David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, and Betye Saar. Their influence, like that of all of the artists in the exhibition, goes beyond their immediate creative circles and the geography of Los Angeles and is critical to a more complete and dynamic understanding of twentieth-century American Art.


  • David Hammons. America the Beautiful. 1968. Lithograph and body print. 39 x 29 1⁄2 in. (99.1 x 74.9 cm). Oakland Museum, Oakland Museum Founders Fund.

  • Installation view of Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 at MoMA PS1, 2012. © MoMA PS1; photo: Matthew Septimus.

  • Betye Saar. Black Girl’s Window. 1969. Assemblage in window. 35 3⁄4 x 18 x 1 1⁄2 in. (90.8 x 45.7 x 3.8 cm). Collection of the artist; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York.

  • Installation view of Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 at MoMA PS1, 2012. © MoMA PS1; photo: Matthew Septimus.

  • Installation view of Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 at MoMA PS1, 2012. © MoMA PS1; photo: Matthew Septimus.

 

Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 is organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. The exhibition is curated by Kellie Jones, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, and organized at MoMA PS1 by Christophe Cherix, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art, and Peter Eleey, Curator, MoMA PS1, in association with Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art.

The presentation at MoMA PS1 is made possible by MoMA's Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Lawrence B. Benenson, David Teiger, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art, The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, and by Bernard Lumpkin and Carmine Boccuzzi.

The accompanying symposium at MoMA is supported in part by the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.

The exhibition was made possible by major grants from the Getty Foundation. Generous support was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which funded a Curatorial Research Fellowship; and The Broad Art Foundation.