Faith Ringgold Makes Time 100, Influential Artist Has "Painted, Sculpted, Written, Sewed, and Incited Change All Her Life"
May 23, 2022 - Victoria L. Valentine
THE TIME 100 LIST of the most inﬂuential people of 2022 was announced today and Faith Ringgold, 91, was among the many impressive ﬁgures honored. The newsmagazine enlisted Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem to pay tribute to Ringgold.
Golden began her text with a succinct assessment of the artist’s practice and contributions. “A Renaissance woman born in Harlem during its own Renaissance, Faith Ringgold has painted, sculpted, written, sewed, and incited change all her life,” she wrote. “Her fundamental reinvention of narrative-based art, especially her panoptic elevation of the American craft tradition, has ﬁrmly established her as one of the great artists of our time.”
“A Renaissance woman born in Harlem during its own Renaissance, Faith Ringgold has painted, sculpted, written, sewed, and incited change all her life.” — Studio Museum in Halem Director Thelma Golden
The Time 100 recognizes exceptional ﬁgures in several categories, artists, in addition to innovators, titans, leaders, icons, and pioneers. Time editors develop the list. Edward Felsenthal, Time CEO and editor in chief wrote about how they determine their choices in an introduction to the feature. “[W]e have one barometer: inﬂuence. Who shaped the year? Who stood up? Who stood out?” he said. “…Our hope is that the TIME100 list is not simply a recognition of inﬂuence but a study in how inﬂuence can be wielded.”
Inﬂuential ﬁgures who made the cut include U.S. President Joe Biden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, incoming U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, Tim Cook, Issa Rae, Simu Liu, Kris Jenner, Nadine Smith, and Wordle creator Josh Wardle.
Among the innovators, 2022 Pritzker Prize winner Francis Kéré also made the annual list. Born in Burkino Faso, he is the ﬁrst African to be awarded the prestigious architecture prize. In his Time tribute to Kéré, fellow architect David Adjaye said: “He is a trailblazer for his long- standing commitment to formalizing space for both social and environmental good, and in this sense his legacy lives not just in his built work but also in his general practice and methodological spirit.”
Poet and professor Elizabeth Alexander is president of the Mellon Foundation, the largest largest funder of arts and education in the United States. According to Time, she is a titan, too. Under her tenure, Mellon has provided groundbreaking support for numerous organizations, programs, and initiatives, including diversifying museum boards, reimagining public monuments, LatinX artists, library services for the incarcerated, and acquiring Johnson Publishing’s Ebony and Jet photographic archive. Two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Lynn Nottage wrote Alexander’s Time tribute.
“We have one barometer: influence. Who shaped the year? Who stood up?Who stood out?” — Time CEO & Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal
IN TERMS OF VISUAL ARTISTS, Ringgold and Nan Goldin, a pioneering photographer and activist, are the only two represented on the powerful list. Ringgold is also the oldest person in the group of 100. For more than six decades, Ringgold has been “making breakthroughs” and as Golden notes “the art world is only just now catching up.” After the Studio Museum presented “Faith Ringgold: Twenty Years of Painting, Sculpture, and Performance 1963–1983” in 1984, many years passed before wider attention came her way.
Since 1995, Ringgold has been represented by ACA Galleries in New York. In 2016, the Museum of Modern Art acquired and displayed “American People Series #20: Die” (1967), a monumental painting informed by the race riots erupting in major U.S. cities around the country when it was produced.
In 2019, Serpentine Galleries in London organized “Faith Ringgold,” the artist’s ﬁrst institutional exhibition in Europe. The touring exhibition was also shown at Bildmuseet at Umeå University in Sweden (2020-21) and Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Md. (2021).
In March, a painted quilt from Ringgold’s 2004 Jazz Stories series was featured on the cover of the Spring Style & Design Issue of The New Yorker magazine. The American Folk Art Museum in New York City honored the artist at its 60th anniversary gala in April.
“Faith Ringgold: American People,” currently on view at the New Museum is described as the most comprehensive assessment of the artist to date and marks the ﬁrst time a mainstream art museum in her hometown launched a major exploration of her work. The exhibition travels to the de Young Museum in San Francisco in July, where it will be the ﬁrst retrospective of Ringgold on the West Coast. CT
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