One of the most jarring political pieces on display at the new exhibit, “Faith Ringgold: American People,” depicts the stars of the American flag reading the word “DIE” and the stripes reading the n-word. Titled “Flag For The Moon,” the piece briefly got the artist arrested for flag desecration when she displayed it in 1970.
“She felt the American government – what they were communicating to Black people – [was] that they could put a flag on the moon but disregard Black lives back in the United States,” said Jamillah James, the curator of the exhibit, which is open through Feb. 25 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Ringgold is known for a variety of artforms, including quilts, paintings, soft sculptures, autobiographical work and children’s books. In this episode, host Erin Allen talks with James about the political nature of Ringgold’s art and how it serves as a bridge to the work of young Black artists today.
“She’s really a living legend,” said James. “And so influential, you can see the scale of her influence in so many younger artists that are exploring crafting, autobiography, narrative, et cetera in their work, and doing so unapologetically.”