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Cincinnati Art Museum to present work by Civil Rights-era artist Charles White

8/30/2023 12:00:00 AM

November 10, 2023–February 25, 2024

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CINCINNATI —August 30, 2023— Explore the work of Chicago-born artist and educator Charles White (1918–1979), widely recognized as one of the most important and influential figures in 20th century art. Charles White: A Little Higher will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum from November 10, 2023–February 25, 2024.

Over the course of a 40-year career, White created powerful, evocative expressions of African-American experience with confidence and technical skill as a draftsman, printmaker and painter. White speaks to contemporary life, stating: “I like to think that my work has a universality to it. I deal with love, hope, courage, freedom, and dignity—the full gamut of the human experience.” Expressing his lifelong commitment to social justice and equality, White’s stirring art provides lessons in reconciliation and empathy that resonate today.

The exhibition features nearly 50 works by the artist—including prints, drawings and paintings—selected from the Primas Family Collection, one of the nation’s premiere collections of works by Black artists. The forceful images of White’s early works merge into the breathtaking, emotive ones for which he is best known, including two large charcoal drawings in the exhibition from his J’Accuse series.

Another notable feature of the exhibition, on display for the first time, is a group of 12 oil-wash illustrations commissioned by Johnson Publishing Company of Chicago (Ebony, JET) for the landmark book The Shaping of Black America, published in 1975, by noted author and editor Lerone Bennett, Jr. (1928–2018).

“Visually stunning, White’s commanding work bridges generations of art lovers and activists, communicating essential truths about what it means to be human,” says Julie Aronson, Curator of American Paintings, Sculpture, & Drawings.

In addition to the works displayed, the museum invited regional artists and teachers to contribute their voices to the exhibition. Through both poetry and prose, visitors will have the opportunity to see White’s work through a diverse lens of community voices.

Charles White: A Little Higher is made possible by the Primas Family Collection. It is supported by GBBN. The exhibition is located in the Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Gallery, the Manuel and Rhoda Mayerson Gallery and the Dr. Kenneth and Barbara Kreines Gallery (Galleries 125, 124 and 123, respectively) located across from the Terrace Café. No tickets are required. General admission to the museum and parking are also free.


Related events:

Members Opening, 5–7 p.m., Thursday, November 9, Cincinnati Art Museum
Museum members are invited to view the exhibition before it opens to the public and enjoy light bites and a cash bar. Free for members.

Exhibition Lecture: TBA, 7–8 p.m., Thursday, November 9, Cincinnati Art Museum
Details to be announced. Tickets will be available on the museum’s website.

Family Storytime and Gallery Walk, 11 a.m.–noon, Saturday, January 6, Cincinnati Art Museum
Details to be announced.

Choose Your Own Gallery Adventure, 1–2 p.m., Saturday, January 13, Cincinnati Art Museum
Will you end up owning a piece of art or lose it all and be left with a bill? Make your way through the galleries on this tour based on the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. Free.

Art After Dark, 5–9 p.m., Friday, January 26, Cincinnati Art Museum
This month’s event will celebrate the exhibition and feature music, food and drinks for purchase. Free.

See the Story Book Club, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday, January 27, Cincinnati Art Museum
Do you love to read? Love art? Join librarians from the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library and museum staff for this bi-monthly book club. Free.

Schedule subject to change. Visit for the latest information.


About the Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.

Free general admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is made possible by a gift from the Rosenthal Family Foundation. Exhibition pricing may vary. Parking is free.

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