Leo J. O'Donovan
The Brooklyn Museum's "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power" is an essential exhibition, featuring the striking, timeless works of black artists from 1963 to 1983.
After lengthy negotiations with the Vatican, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has curated a 26-gallery show that celebrates the ways in which Catholic imagery has inspired fashion. But the exhibit is fundamentally about what drives creativity.
For a while, boundaries in art have been fading. Life and art, the world and the way we imagine it interpenetrate one another.
Nowhere in New York these days is there punchier, closer-to-earth religious art than at El Museo del Barrio on upper Fifth Avenue. The exhibition there, “Testimonios: 100 Years of Popular Expression,” has lots more than religious material. Its point is to show how largely self-taught or folk artists have imagined their world, and its more than 300 pieces trace the interplay of family life, cultural heritage, community relations, dislocation, oppression and liberation.