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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), and Frank Bowling (second from right), 1969. Photograph by Adger Cowans. © Adger Cowans; Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY.

Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 16, 5-7pm

Check back for events and more information. 

image caption
Howardena Pindell, Untitled (Space Frame), 1968, Acrylic and pastel on paper, 42 1/4 x 66 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

Revisiting 5+1 is a reflection on the historic 1969 Stony Brook University exhibition entitled 5+1. Revisiting 5+1 features work by the original six artists, all of whom were Black men, with an addition of six Black women artists, all trailblazers at a time when their work in abstraction was challenged by both the mainstream art world and Black art institutions. Photographs and archival materials exhibited alongside the work provide additional contextual history from this era of student protests and racial justice on campus. 

The 1969 exhibition, organized by artist Frank Bowling at the invitation of esteemed art critic and Stony Brook Professor of Art History Lawrence Alloway, coincided with the first semester of courses in a new Black Studies Program, created in response to student activism. Revisiting 5+1 illuminates the original exhibition’s dynamic university context and amplifies Black women artists’ contributions to debates around art and politics of Black identity. The accompanying catalog includes archival photographs of 5+1 by Adger Cowans and from the Frank Bowling Studio Archive, four scholarly essays, an interview with Stony Brook Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell, who selected the women artists and has work in the exhibition, and profiles of artists included in the exhibition. 

The original 5+1 artists include Frank Bowling, Melvin Edwards, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Al Loving, Jack Whitten, and William T. Williams. Revisiting 5+1 also presents the work of Vivian Browne, Adger Cowans, Mary Lovelace O'Neal, Howardena Pindell, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, and Mildred Thompson.

thomasAlma Thomas (1891–1978), Carnival of Autumn Leaves, 1973. Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 50 inches / 127 x 127 cm. Collection of halley k. harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY


williamsWilliam 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


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 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 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.

Revisiting 5+1 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, Graduate Student Organization, Art Department, and Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery's 2022–2023 schedule is supported by a generous grant from the Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Friends of Staller Center.

For the original 5 + 1 catalog, click here.