Organized by the Harvey B. Gantt Center
FuturePresent: Acquisition Highlights from the Permanent Collection examines the Harvey B. Gantt Center's legacy of collecting.
Since the organization's inception in 1974, the Gantt Center has primarily built its collection from works gifted to the institution. Over the decades, John and Vivian Hewitt collected paintings, prints, and drawings from artists near and far. And in 1998, Bank of America acquired the collection from the Hewitts and pledged it to the then-named Afro-American Cultural Center.
The Hewitts' stewardship culminated in a collection of artwork by 19th and 20th century masters including Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. Although the media and scale of creations by African-American artists have evolved, the Gantt Center's focus for its collection remains the same — to build on the cultural foundation of John and Vivian Hewitt by supporting future masters and creative leaders of African-American art and art history.
FuturePresent embodies this idea through the presentation of works that are pioneering in their concept and execution. Artists such as Stacy Lynn Waddell and Radcliffe Bailey push the boundaries of the traditional canvas and frame while Phillip Thomas explores landscapes and societal themes through a contemporary lens. From John and Vivian Hewitt's collecting past, to the institution's present mission, this exhibition visualizes the future of art at the Gantt Center and beyond.
Michael B. Platt, The Mist, 2009. Print on canvas, 36 x 48 inches. Permanent collection of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Generously donated by Patrick Diamond.