CELEBRATIONS AND HARD-WON RECOGNITION of Faith Ringgold and her singular practice continue apace. Over the past several years, Ringgold has been celebrated by major international institutions through awards, media profiles, publications, and exhibitions.

The latest honor hails from London. Apollo, the international art magazine, announced its annual awards and Ringgold was named Artist of the Year.

For 30 years, Apollo has paid tribute to “major achievements in the art and museum worlds, commending remarkable work by individuals and institutions in both historical and contemporary fields.”

The UK magazine announced 2022 awards in seven categories, Artist of the Year, as well as Personality, Museum Opening, Exhibition, Digital Innovation, Book, and Acquisition of the Year.

An artist, activist, educator, and masterful storyteller, Ringgold makes insightful works that confront American racism, explore political and cultural issues, and consider the experiences of women and her own autobiography.

Born in Harlem and based in New Jersey, Ringgold is a powerful artist with a longstanding career that the global art world has only recently began to acknowledge. After building her practice over the course of more than six decades, recent career-spanning museum exhibitions have garnered rave reviews and introduced Ringgold to ever-expanding international audiences.

In 2019, Serpentine Galleries in London organized “Faith Ringgold,” the artist’s first institutional exhibition in Europe. The show traveled to Bildmuseet at Umeå University in Sweden (2020-21) and Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Md. (2021).

“Faith Ringgold: American People” opened in February at the New Museum in New York. The retrospective marked the first time a mainstream art museum in the artist’s hometown presented a major survey of her work.

In the New York Times, Holland Cotter wrote that the show, “which fills three floors of the New Museum, combines figures, craft techniques and storytelling in inventive combinations. And it makes clear that what consigned Ringgold to an outlier track half a century ago puts her front and center now.”

“American People” traveled to the de Young Museum in San Francisco, where it was on view over the summer and into the fall. Another milestone, the presentation was the first retrospective of Ringgold on the West Coast.

“I am grateful for the recognition and also for all the people who have helped me along the way. No one can do it alone,” Ringgold told Apollo. “From the beginning I have wanted to tell my story—or, more to the point, my side of the story. I wanted to inspire others and be inspired,”

“From the beginning I have wanted to tell my story—or, more to the point, my side of the story. I wanted to inspire others and be inspired.”
— Faith Ringgold

FAITH RINGGOLD, “American People Series #20: Die,” 1967 (oil on canvas, two panels, 72 × 144 inches / 182.9 × 365.8 cm). | Museum of Modern Art. Acquired through the generosity of The Modern Women’s Fund, Ronnie F. Heyman, Eva and Glenn Dubin, Lonti Ebers, Michael S. Ovitz, Daniel and Brett Sundheim, and Gary and Karen Winnick, 212.2016.a-b. © Faith Ringgold


The Artist of the Year award was accompanied by an essay authored by Jonathan Griffin that elucidates the scope and influence of Ringgold’s practice and began with a compelling anecdote:

    When the Museum of Modern Art in New York reinstalled its collection in 2019, amid widespread critical acclaim for the institution’s revisionist canon, one pairing in particular hit the headlines: Faith Ringgold’s American People Series #20: Die (1967) hanging next to Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907).

    The juxtaposition was a radical one, not least because it was undeniable that this painting – acquired by the museum as recently as 2016, directly from the artist – could go toe-to-toe with one of the institution’s most prestigious works of art. It crowned Ringgold, now 92 years old, as a modern master.

Each winner of the Apollo Awards emerged from a shortlist of contenders. For Artist of the Year, Ringgold bested an impressive slate of international artists, including Simone Leigh and Hew Locke, two fellow Black artists who’ve also enjoyed heightened acclaim in recent years.

The following artists made the shortlist: Belgian-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs; France-based, German painter Anselm Kiefer; Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Leigh, who represented the United States with a solo exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale this year; London-based Locke, a British artist whose commissions are currently on view at Tate Britain and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and American sculptor Charles Ray. CT


IMAGE: Top right, Artist Faith Ringgold. | © 2022 Faith Ringgold, Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York


Published on the occasion of the New Museum exhibition of the same name, “Faith Ringgold: American People” examines the entire career of Faith Ringgold. With text contributions by an impressive slate of artists, curators and writers, including Diedrick Brackens, LeRonn Brooks, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Jordan Casteel, Bridget Cooks, Mark Godfrey, Lucy Lippard, Tschabalala Self, Michele Wallace, and Zoé Whitley, the new volume is being promoted as “the most significant collection of scholarship” on Ringgold to date. Also recently published, “Faith Ringgold: Politics/Power” showcases the artist’s most potent and profound political works and “Faith Ringgold” is published to document the survey exhibition at Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Md. The volume is an updated and expanded version of the catalog published in 2020 to accompany the show’s presentation at Serpentine Galleries in London. Also consider, “The Met Faith Ringgold: Narrating the World in Pattern and Color (What the Artist Saw),” a children’s book published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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