Terra Foundation-supported Events

Exhibition: Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist

This exhibition considers the work of Archibald Motley (1891–1980) within an early-twentieth-century international modernist context. Motley’s works include observations of a vibrant and tumultuous African American community in the years just prior to and after the Great Depression, references to 1929–30 France, and reflections on the so-called “El Milagro Mexicano” in post-World War II Mexico. The exhibition has at its core paintings depicting one of Chicago’s historically black communities, Bronzeville. Motley intensely interrogates this community, picturing with equal sarcasm Chicago’s African American elites; the city’s rustic, recently disembarked southern migrants; and its unseemly “ne’er-do-wells and lowlifes.” This exhibition features approximately 47 of the artist’s paintings, including Between Acts (1935), from the Terra Foundation collection.

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Archibald j. Motley, Jr., Between Acts, 1935. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2009.1