Gala to Mark Opening of Faith Ringgold Retrospective at Rutgers' Mason Gross Galleries

Gala to Mark Opening of Faith Ringgold Retrospective at Rutgers' Mason Gross Galleries

Guests to receive boxed sets of artist’s newest work as gift

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A gala celebration at Rutgers on Sunday, May 17, will launch a major retrospective of the works of renowned American artist Faith Ringgold at the university’s Mason Gross Galleries.

Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold

The event will take place at the galleries at 33 Livingston Avenue, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The gala also will mark the debut of Ringgold’s newest project, a limited edition of playing cards with the theme “Yes I Can.” Gala guests will receive, as gifts, boxed sets of the playing cards, which will be available for sale to the public during the exhibition.

Tickets for the gala are $125 for the general public and $75 for students and working artists. They may be reserved by calling 732-932-3726. Proceeds from the gala and subsequent sales of the cards will help support the Rutgers Institute for Women and Art (IWA).

“Declaration of Independence: 50 Years of Art by Faith Ringgold,” will be on display in the galleries of the Mason Gross School of the Arts through June 26.  Hours are noon to 4 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, and by appointment. Judith Brodsky and Ferris Olin, directors of Rutgers’ Institute for Women and Art (IWA), curated the exhibition, which includes works representing various phases of Ringgold’s career.

Faith Ringgold: 'Yes I Can'Playing Cards2009

Ringgold, a resident of Englewood, has donated her personal papers to the Miriam Schapiro Archives of Women Artists at Rutgers. Established by the IWA, the archives are dedicated to preserving the history of feminist art and artists in the United States. Ringgold will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree from the university May 20.

“My ties to Rutgers go back many years. I think it’s been a mutually gratifying relationship,” Ringgold said. “They gave me my very first retrospective, covering the years from 1963 to 1973, and it was just absolutely wonderful. I’ve made a lot of friends at Rutgers.”  That exhibition took place at the Rutgers University Art Gallery, now the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. Since then she has appeared many times on campus, giving lectures and meeting with students. She also created two print editions at Rutgers’ Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions.

Best known for her quilts that that combine painting, fabric and storytelling, Ringgold has exhibited in major museums in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Her work is in the permanent collection of most of the country’s major museums, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Ringgold also has written and illustrated many children's books and has received more than 75 awards,

'We have Appealed to Their Native Justice and Magnanimity,'from the series 'Declaration of Freedom and Independence'Faith Ringgold2008-09Acrylic on Paper

fellowships, citations and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting and two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her children's book Tar Beach was a Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration. The Princeton Public Library and the New York subway system also have commissioned large-scale mosaic works by the artist.

“Faith Ringgold is an artistic treasure of New Jersey and of the United States,” Brodsky said. “It’s really exciting that Rutgers will be the first to give her a major award in her home state.”

Olin described Ringgold as “an artist of international note who also has been an activist on behalf of artists from under-represented populations, including women artists.”

The Rutgers exhibit will feature a large story quilt picturing Grammy-winning saxophonist Sonny Rollins, a jazz legend who also will receive an honorary degree

Faith Ringgold: 'Mama Can Sing Papa Can Blow'Serigraph2003

from Rutgers May 20. Ringgold and Rollins were childhood friends in Harlem.

Brodsky and Olin established the IWA in 2006 to bring together teaching departments, research centers and institutes, exhibition venues and the University Libraries on the three Rutgers campuses – Camden, New Brunswick and Newark – for interdisciplinary research and programming.

In its first three years, the IWA has garnered national recognition for its activities, including the Dana Women Artists Series; The Feminist Art Project, a national program with 34 regional coordinators and online calendar; FARE (Feminist Resources in Education), providing feminist art education for students and educators in K through 12 and higher education; WAAND: The Women Artists Archives National Directory, an innovative online directory of more than 15,000 women artists in more than 1,000 archival collections, as well as the Miriam Schapiro Archives of Women Artists.

Media Contact: Sandra Lanman
732-932-7084, ext. 621