Eastern Michigan University Announces Exhibit that Highlights Harold Neal and Black Detroit Artist

EMU is pleased to announce their latest exhibit, Harold Neal and Detroit African American Artists: 1945 through the Black Arts Movement.

harold neal
Harold Neal, Title unknown (Riot Series?), 1960s. Image courtesy of Eastern Michigan University.

The University Gallery, School of Art and Design, at Eastern Michigan University is excited to announce their latest exhibition, Harold Neal and Detroit African American Artists: 1945 through the Black Arts Movement. The exhibition will be at the EMU Art Gallery from Monday, September 13 through Wednesday, October 20. Additionally, a closing reception will take place on Sunday, October 17 from 1:30 to 4:30pm. 

Harold Neal was an aficionado of jazz, especially Detroit Jazz. To celebrate this, the Detroit Marion Hayden Trio will play at the opening of the exhibit. Hayden is one of the nation’s finest performers of the acoustic bass. In 2016, she received the prestigious Kresge Artist Fellowship.

Harold Neal’s Impact on Detroit Art

Detroit African American painter Harold Neal created some of the most forceful artistic statements of the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts movements. Focusing on Neal, Harold Neal and Detroit African American Artists: 1945 through the Black Arts Movement explores the efflorescence of Detroit African American art in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. They’ll also explore the impact of these movements in Detroit art.

Following the closing reception, a panel discussion will take place. Panel participants include Allie McGhee, well-known Detroit artist, and Shirley Woodson, the 2021 Kresge Eminent Artist. Both artists will also be represented during the exhibition. Additional panelists include Dr. Samantha Noel, Associate Professor of Art History at Wayne State University, and Tylonn Sawyer, EMU alumni and Detroit BLack figurative artist. The panel will take place in a room adjacent to the gallery.

Additionally, on October 12, viewers can check out a lecture entitled, “Detroit’s Black Power Murals as Public Art” by Rebecca Zurier, Associate Professor, History of Art at the University of Michigan. The lecture will take place at EMU’s Halle Library Auditorium. This lecture will explore the way the Detroit murals work amidst Detroit’s racial geography, which was done in two ways. Their iconography offered an alternative (or counter-history) that encouraged Black Detroiters to imagine their place in a new version of the city.

For more information on the exhibition, lecture, and other related events, visit Eastern Michigan University’s website.

900 Oakwood St., Ypsilanti. 734-487-1849. emugalleries.org