WILLIAMSTOWN -- On view from July 20 to Dec. 1, "Now Dig This!" 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 helped shape the creative output of Southern California.
The exhibition of 130 works by 33 artists active during this historical period explores 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.
Artists featured in the exhibition include Melvin Edwards, Fred Eversley, David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, John Outterbridge, Alonzo Davis, Dale Brockman Davis, Noah Purifoy, Betye Saar and Charles White.
"Now Dig This!" is organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and was presented there in 2011-12 as part of "Pacific Standard Time," a collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across southern California.
The exhibition is curated by Kellie Jones, associate professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, and the presentation at WCMA is organized by Kathryn Price, curator of special projects.
"The artists that have been included in ‘Now Dig This!’ represent a vibrant group whose work is critical to a more complete and dynamic understanding of twentieth-century American art. Their influence goes beyond their immediate creative circles and their legacy is something we are only now beginning to fully understand," said Jones.
"We are thrilled to bring ‘Now Dig This!’ to the region," said Christina Olsen, Class of ‘56 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art. "It offers an incredibly rich and vital canvas for the faculty and students interested in contemporary art, music, and dance, civil rights movement and more to explore and learn."
Free public programs and performances will accompany the exhibition:
*"The Actors Intervene" Thursday, July 25 and Aug. 8 at 4 p.m. See what happens when Williamstown Theatre Festival actors mine "Now Dig This!" for inspiration and animate the galleries with an artful performance.
The Williams College Museum of Art is located on Main Street. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. From July 20 through Labor Day the museum will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum is wheelchair accessible and open to the public. Admission is free.
For more information: 413-597-2429, wcma.williams.edu.