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Revisiting 5 + 1

November 10, 2022 - March 31, 2023


5+1 exhibition opening with attendees including Bill Rivers (left front), Melvin Edwards (left, behind Rivers), Jayne Cortez (middle, back to camera), Wyn Loving (center, dark coat), Pat Williams (back center), and Frank Bowling (second from right), 1969. Photograph by Adger Cowans. © Adger Cowans; Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY.

Revisiting 5 + 1

November 10, 2022 - March 31, 2023

Winter hours: Open by appointment December 12- January  20. Closed December 22 - January 1.  To schedule an appointment, please email at least 24 hours in advance. 

OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, November 16, 5-7pm

Check back for events and more information. 

Press Release

Click here to purchase the exhibition catalog.

Examining a critical moment at the junction of abstract art, racial and gender politics, and student activism at Stony Brook University, Revisiting 5+1 is a reflection on the historic 1969 exhibition of abstract art 5+1, presenting works by the original artists, alongside a new selection of major works by Black women working in abstraction.

Revisiting 5+1 features work by the six artists in the 1969 exhibition (curated by and including artist Frank Bowling) each of whom created vivid experimental abstract paintings and sculptures. Alongside Bowling, the show presents major work by Melvin Edwards, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Al Loving, Jack Whitten, and William T. Williams, showcasing their early practices of the 1960s and ‘70s. In collaboration with Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell, Revisiting 5+1 adds a related yet distinct group of six Black women artists, who were also trailblazers in abstraction. Alongside Pindell, the exhibition features works by Vivian Browne, Mary Lovelace O'Neal, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, and Mildred Thompson, including a never before shown 1971 film by Saar. 

This exhibition provides new insight into the significance of the dynamic university context, demonstrating the important history of university-based exhibitions organized by Black artists. At a time when Black artists working in abstraction encountered barriers in both the White mainstream art world, which valued works in abstraction but not those by Black artists, and the Black Arts Movement, which rejected abstract art as apolitical, university galleries provided a unique platform outside the confines of the mainstream art world for engaging with ongoing debates around the relation between art and racial politics.

The accompanying catalog includes archival photographs of 5+1 by Adger Cowans and from the Frank Bowling Archive, four scholarly essays, and profiles of artists included in the exhibition, an interview with Howardena Pindell, as well as a tribute to Pindell’s achievements by Lowery Stokes Sims. The illustrated catalog is designed by Rebecca Sylvers, Miko McGinty, Inc.

image caption
Frank Bowling, Bunch, 1979/2012, acrylic on collaged canvas, Acrylic on collaged canvas 75 x 27 in (190.5 x 68.6 cm). Private collection. Courtesy the artist and Alexander Gray Associates. Photographed by Jeffrey Sturges. © 2022 Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London.

Revisiting 5+1 is curated by Stony Brook University Art History PhD candidates Elise Armani, Amy Kahng, and Gabriella Shypula in consultation with Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell and under the guidance of Katy Siegel, Distinguished Professor and Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Endowed Chair in Modern American Art, and Karen Levitov, Director and Curator of the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery. The exhibition is supported by a grant from Stony Brook University's Office of the President. Additional support is provided by a Humanities New York grant. A generous donation is provided by Hauser & Wirth Gallery, with additional funding from Garth Greenan Gallery, New York. Support is also provided by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Stony Brook University College of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Institute of Stony Brook, Art Department, Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Department of Africana Studies. The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery's 2022–2023 schedule is supported by a generous grant from the Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation.

PindellHowardena Pindell, Plankton Lace #2, 2020, Mixed media on canvas, 76 1/2 x 85 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

Revisiting 5+1 is presented in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in conjunction with the exhibition Frank Bowling's Americas, on view at the MFA Boston from October 22, 2022 - April 9, 2023, and traveling to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from May 13 - September 10, 2023. A digital component and display case are presented in collaboration with the MFA Boston and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Please check back for the digital component.

Click here to purchase the exhibition catalog.

For the original 5 + 1 catalog, click here. 


William T. Williams (b. 1942), Hawk's Return, 1969–70, acrylic on canvas, 109 x 85 1/2 inches / 276.9 x 217.2 cm; © William T. Williams; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

Hours: Monday-Friday 12-4pm and evenings of Staller Center performances and films. Email to schedule a visit outside of regular hours.