“The Soul of Black Art: A Collector’s View”

At Upfor gallery, layers of racism and social progress

Collector John Goodwin's "The Soul of Black Art: A Collector’s View" combines hurt and hope

By JENNIFER RABIN

On the wall opposite the entrance to Upfor, Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn” screen print smiles at you, her blue-shadowed eyes smoldering under the perfect arch of her eyebrows. She is the immediate center of attention, as she was in life, and it is disorienting to be confronted by an icon of white culture in an exhibition titled The Soul of Black Art: A Collector’s View.

Marian Carrasquero. Photo by Mario Gallucci, courtesy Upfor

Marian Carrasquero. Photo by Mario Gallucci, courtesy Upfor

Portland-based art collector John Goodwin guest curated the show, commingling pieces from his and Michael-Jay Robinson’s own collection with pieces borrowed from other collectors, alongside for-sale works by contemporary artists of color. His formidable task was to assemble an exhibition that would illustrate how depictions of African-Americans have changed over the last hundred years.

We are unaccustomed to being confronted by a chronological visual timeline of representation, so being in the gallery feels both hurtful and hopeful, as we reckon with both the slow march of racism and of progress.

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