Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts on view at Pitt

Rusty Anklez, Larger Than Life

Rusty Anklez, Larger Than Life

University Art Gallery at Pitt

Through December 11

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

If you missed the opening reception on November 9th—when more than 300 attendees celebrated with featured local artists—you still have 10 more days to explore this compelling and informative exhibition at Pitt’s University Art Gallery in Oakland. Focusing its curatorial lens on the underrepresentation of black artists in museums and galleries across the country, the group exhibition, Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts, is significant and unique on several levels.

Entirely planned, curated and designed by undergraduate students at Pitt, Exposure showcases work by black and African American artists—as well as artists from the African diaspora—while also addressing nationwide realities about disparities in museums and galleries.

Featured artists include James Edward White, Frank Floyd Hightower, Jo-Anne Bates, Tina Williams Brewer, Todd Steele, George Gist, Ramon Riley, Thaddeus Mosley, Carl “Dingbat” Smith, Charlotte Ka, Christine Bethea and many more.

Within the gallery’s five rooms, visitors will encounter a wide range of media—from quilts, sculpture and cartooning to paintings and photography—in art that conveys diverse experiences, unique creative perspectives and a variety of themes reflecting African-American culture, history and community.

As part of the curatorial planning process, students enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh’s Museum Studies Exhibition Seminar looked at statistics pointing to a serious lack of ethnic diversity in exhibitions and leadership roles at art museums throughout the U.S.

Courtesy of University Art Gallery.

Courtesy of University Art Gallery.

Offered annually via Pitt’s Department of History of Art and Architecture, the unique course—which is taught by Society for Contemporary Craft Executive Director Janet McCall—provides students with the rare opportunity to produce an art exhibition from the ground up. As participating students learned from a survey by the Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Alliance of Museums, only four percent of museum curators, conservators and educators are black.

Using this research as a springboard, Exposure increases awareness about these gaps, while also celebrating and showcasing the creative practice of 54 local black artists.


Further underscoring a dedication to amplifying diverse voices and experiences, the show’s featured artists range in age from students and emerging artists in their early 20s to established art figures and seniors in their 80s.

Spotlighting the outstanding productivity and contributions of contemporary black artists in Pittsburgh, Exposure also aims to engage the larger university community and use the art as a catalyst for career building experiences for students.

Not to miss is a special evening lecture and demonstration led by Pittsburgh-based choreographer Staycee Pearl in collaboration with her partner Herman Pearl, which will be held on Tuesday, December 8th at 6 p.m.

Pitt’s University Art Gallery is located in the Frick Fine Arts Building at 650 Schenley Drive in Oakland. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.