Claremont, CA—The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College is thrilled to announce an award of $50,000 from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for the exhibition Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend, scheduled for August 31 to December 17, 2021, at both the Benton and Pitzer College Art Galleries. This is the second grant the Benton Museum of Art has received from the Warhol Foundation, established by the artist Andy Warhol to support the advancement of the visual arts.
“The Benton Museum of Art is an important platform for bringing the distinctive voices of some of today’s most thought-provoking artists to the community of Pomona College and amplifying their concerns far beyond its campus. The work of Sadie Barnette illuminates both personal and political history as it confronts inequities that plague contemporary culture,” said Rachel Bers, Program Director of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. “The Foundation believes in the central importance of artists’ perspectives to conversations on pressing social, political, and cultural issues; we are excited to support an exhibition that brings Sadie Barnette’s into focus.”
“We’re deeply grateful to The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for this award,” said Victoria Sancho Lobis, the Sarah Rempel and Herbert S. Rempel ’23 Director of the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College. “Especially now, during this time of financial contraction, these grants are so important to museums such as ours who are finding ways to continue to press forward. This grant from the Warhol Foundation both recognizes a worthy and provocative exhibition and is a measure of confidence in the near future of the arts and arts organizations.”
The grant supports the most ambitious exhibition to date of the California artist Sadie Barnette. Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend is a partnership between the Benton and Pitzer College Art Galleries, with the exhibition spread across the two venues. At the Benton Museum of Art, the artist will be presenting a major new body of work developed from an earlier project, Dear 1968,... (2017). That earlier project focused on the 500-page surveillance dossier amassed by the FBI on the artist’s father, activist Rodney Barnette, who founded the Compton chapter of the Black Panthers in 1968. In the work, the artist reclaimed these FBI files by adorning them with bright pink spray paint, glitter, and rhinestones in the spirit of youthful graffiti; her embellishments transformed symbols of oppression into emblems of a community’s strength and resilience.
This dossier, which reveals the intimidation tactics used by the FBI to harass the elder Barnette and his community, has become his daughter’s artistic touchstone, and she returns to it for the Benton exhibition of her FBI Drawings series. These 60-by-48-inch drawings, in densely applied graphite on stark white paper, enlarge and invert complete pages from the FBI dossier. To them Barnette adds images of roses and other decorative domestic items to honor, mourn, memorialize, and reclaim life. For Barnette, the labor-intensive process of hand-brushing layers of graphite becomes, in the artist’s words, “drawing as incantation, cast for healing and real justice . . . evidence of a fierce love.”
Pitzer College Art Galleries will feature an immersive living room installation created by Barnette that incorporates drawings, sculptures, found objects, photographs, seating arrangements, and sound systems that have been adorned with holographic vinyl, glitter, aerosol paint, and wallpaper. In this signature reimagining of domestic spaces as futuristic and other-worldly locations of liberation and restoration, Barnette again draws upon and recasts her family history through her artistic practice, revealing quintessential American truths about repression, resistance, and love.
Sadie Barnette holds a BFA from CalArts and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. She has been awarded grants and residencies by the Studio Museum in Harlem, Artadia, Art Matters, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum, among others. She has been featured in such publications as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Artforum, and Vogue. Barnette lives and works in Oakland, California, and is represented by Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles and Jessica Silverman in San Francisco.
Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend is curated by Ciara Ennis, director at Pitzer College Art Galleries, and Rebecca McGrew, senior curator at the Benton. The exhibition is the third collaboration between the two institutions and the fifty-fourth exhibition in the Benton’s Project Series. The Benton will also publish a major catalogue on the artist’s work to accompany the exhibition. Edited by co-curators Ennis and McGrew, the publication will include new texts by Sadie Barnette, an essay by co-curators Ennis and McGrew, and an essay by Whitney Museum of American Art curator Rujeko Hockley.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awards grants for scholarly exhibitions at museums, curatorial research, visual arts programming at artist-centered organizations, artist residencies and commissions, arts writing, and efforts to promote the health, welfare, and First Amendment rights of artists. In its Fall 2020 grant round, the Warhol Foundation will provide $3.9 million to support 51 organizations, out of 265 applicants, for visual arts programs, exhibitions, and curatorial research.
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ABOUT THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION FOR THE VISUAL ARTS
In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects. To date, the foundation has given over $218 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.
ABOUT THE BENTON MUSEUM OF ART AT POMONA COLLEGE
Now housed in the new Benton Museum of Art designed by Machado Silvetti and Gensler, Pomona College’s collection of art numbers 15,000 objects, including Italian Renaissance paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; works on paper, including a first edition print series by Francisco Goya given by Norton Simon; and works in various media produced in Southern California in the twentieth century. In keeping with Pomona College’s reputation as a leading center of the visual arts, the collection also includes works by such esteemed alumni as Chris Burden (’69), Marcia Hafif (’51), Helen Pashgian (’56), Peter Shelton (’73), and James Turrell (’65). Recognized globally for its commitment to contemporary art, the museum is the home of The Project Series, which has featured more than 50 contemporary Southern California artists since it began in 1999. Through its collaboration with students and faculty, the museum encourages active learning and creative exploration across all disciplines of study within the liberal arts context.