50 Years

Here’s How Houston is Honoring the 1971 DeLuxe Art Show

The Houston Cinema Arts Society is presenting a series of films in honor of the first racially integrated art exhibition.

By Amarie Gipson September 9, 2021

Flyer for the historic Deluxe Show (1971). Courtesy of Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Houston. 

Mounted in 1971 during a period of intense protest and social change, the DeLuxe Art Show was one of the first racially integrated exhibitions in American history.

The exhibition was curated by New York-based abstract painter Peter Bradley and funded by Dominique and John de Menil in an effort to bring fine art to the underserved, predominately Black community in Houston’s Fifth Ward. The revolutionary showcase featured works by 19 artists including modernist painters Ed Clark, William T. Williams and Virginia Jaramillo. The initiative has had a long-lasting impact on breaking racial barriers for artists of color.

In honor of the exhibition's great legacy, the Houston Cinema Arts Society is partnering with the 5th Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation and the DeLuxe Theatre to present a virtual and drive-in film program entitled Echoes of the DeLuxe Art Show: The 5th Ward, Black Invention, and Modernism.

“A key part of the legacy of the DeLuxe Art Show is the continued practice and expansion of Black modernism, most notable in the way it breaks and reinvents form, represented in this collection of films,” says HCAS Artistic Director, Jessica Green in a statement. 

Still from Garrett Bradley's award-winning film Time (2020) that tells a story of a couple's enduring love and their experience with the American prison system. 

The series will feature a screening of Garrett Bradley’s award-winning, documentary Time (2020), and a string of short films including Archie Bell (2019) by Houston’s own Flash Gordon Parks, Stefani Saintonge’s experimental homage to Toni Morrison F*cked Like A Star and Memory Builds the Monument (2021) by multi-platinum music powerhouse Issac Yowman. 

The program kicks off on Thursday, September 23 with a free screening of Time at the Moonstruck Drive-in and will continue with virtual screenings and Q&A’s with the directors of the short films.

For tickets and more information, visit here


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