Rice University is pleased to announce its Centennial Exhibition, Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art, on view at Rice University Art Gallery September 13 – November 18, 2012. Larry and Brenda Thompson, parents of 1998 Rice alumnus Larry Thompson Jr., have collected works not only by acknowledged masters but also by those artists outside the canon including emerging, outsider, vernacular, and regional artists. The opening celebration on Thursday, September 13 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm will feature a gallery talk by the exhibition curator Adrienne Childs, PhD. Complimentary beverages including Pepsi cola and Centenni-Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company will be served. The event is free and open to the public.
Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art was curated by Dr. Adrienne Childs for the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts at University of Maryland, College Park and presents the breadth of the Thompsons’ art collection, which spans the 1890’s to 2007. Featuring 72 works by 67 artists, the exhibition seeks to redefine the canon of African American art by offering a more in-depth, inclusive understanding of the artists and their aesthetic and social concerns. Represented are many celebrated figures including Romare Bearden, Thelma Johnson Streat, and Henry O. Tanner; recognized contemporary artists including Radcliffe Bailey, Howardena Pindell, and William T. Williams, and talented artists identified by the Thompsons including Stefanie Jackson, Preston Sampson, and Joyce Wellman. All of the artists in the exhibition have strong ties to Atlanta, Georgia, the center of a long thriving African American arts community and where Mr. and Mrs. Thompson resided for several decades.
Says Rice University President David Leebron, “Rice University is deeply grateful to Larry and Brenda Thompson for the opportunity to host Tradition Redefined, the nationally recognized collection of 20th Century African American Art. Hosting this exhibition during Rice’s Centennial year celebrates an important collection of American art as well as the diversity of both our country and our university. Art is one of the important ways we seek to understand our society and express the human experience, and this exhibition continues Rice’s increasing commitment to bringing important works of art to our campus. We are pleased to make available this remarkable collection to the Houston community, and welcome all Houstonians to our campus to enjoy this unique and exciting collection, along with all our campus art.”
Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art is organized by the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park.