Plumb Line: Charles White and the Contemporary

8 Mar 2019 – 25 Aug 2019

Event times

Galleries Open
10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m.-5:00p.m.


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A prolific painter, printmaker, muralist, draftsman, and photographer whose career spanned more than half a century, Charles White’s artistic portrayals of black subjects, life, and history were extensive and far-reaching.


Plumb Line features contemporary artists whose work in the realm of black individual and collective life resonates with White’s profound and continuing influence.

From abstraction to figuration, the artists of Plumb Line (listed below) find conversation with White through the largesse of their canvases, expansive renderings of black skin and black community, and in the treatment of black past and presence in ways that are both epic and intimate.

The plumb line, an architectural tool used to determine verticality, is a featured element in White’s Birmingham Totem, suggesting the work of black artists as architects of change. White himself can also be considered an artistic plumb line: a builder of black artistic opportunities and a compass directing us toward new aesthetic, liberatory possibilities.

Art form Toggle


Leigh Raiford

Essence Harden

Exhibiting artists

Michelangelo Lovelace

Torkwase Dyson

Toyin Ojih Odutola

Greg Breda

Bisa Butler

Dawoud Bey

Derrick Adams

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

EJ Hill

Lava Thomas

Sadie Barnette

Deborah Roberts

Diedrick Brackens

Derek Fordjour

Ficre Ghebreyesus

Ariel Dannielle

Deborah Willis

Alfred Conteh

Kenturah Davis

Kohshin Finley

Christopher Myers

Nate Lewis

Charles White

Yashua Klos


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