Untitled #5 by Howardena Pindell
mixed media on paper collage; 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery. © Howardena Pindell


Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary American Collage

at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Houston, Texas, USA
18 February-12 May 2024

Organized by the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, “Multiplicity” is the first major museum exhibition devoted to this rich yet understudied subject. Featuring some 80 collage and collage-informed works, the exhibition explores the breadth and complexity of Black identity and experiences in the United States. With an intergenerational group of 52 living artists, “Multiplicity” examines how concepts such as cultural hybridity, notions of beauty, gender fluidity, and historical memory are expressed in the practice of collage. By assembling pieces of paper, fabric, and other often-salvaged or repurposed materials, the artists in this exhibition create unified compositions that express the endless possibilities of Black-constructed narratives despite our fragmented society. The artists range from established luminaries to early- and mid-career figures, including Mark Bradford, Lauren Halsey, Rashid Johnson, Kerry James Marshall, Wangechi Mutu, Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Deborah Roberts, Tschabalala Self, Lorna Simpson, Devan Shimoyama, and Mickalene Thomas.

Untitled (Turn That Ship Away) from the series “#BetterGardensAndJungles” by Lester Julian Merriweather, cut-paper collage on canvas; 2022. Courtesy of the artist. © Lester Julian Merriweather

“Multiplicity” is structured broadly around seven themes that foreground personal and collective history, regional or national heritage, and gender and sexual orientation, in addition to racial constructs. The artists featured build upon the rich legacy of African American artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Sam Middleton, Faith Ringgold, and Betye Saar, as well as Romare Bearden, who received considerable critical attention as he experimented with collage in the 1960s to inspire collaboration and community. Drawing upon the work of these foundational figures, contemporary artists are making collages in an array of different ways, from traditional cutting and pasting to complexly layering materials, to creating works digitally. For some, collage is their principal strategy; for others, it represents a branch or chapter in their wider practice.

(text adapted from material provided by the museum)


Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet
Houston, Texas 77005 USA
(713) 639-7300

10-16 March 2024:
Sunday, 12:30-6PM
Monday-Wednesday, 11AM-5PM
Thursday, 11AM-9PM
Friday-Saturday, 11AM-6PM

At other times of the year, the museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday.