Mario Moore: Revolutionary Times

Apr 27, 2024 — Aug 18, 2024
Level 1 Galleries

This Michigan Artist Series exhibition brings together three recent bodies of work by Detroit artist Mario Moore including large-scale paintings, silverpoint drawings, and works on paper. In these works, Moore bridges America’s past and present and illuminates stories buried or ignored in Americans’ collective understanding of history.

About the Exhibition

Revolutionary Times begins with Moore’s 2021 series, A New Republic, in which he revisits the remarkable role Black Union Soldiers played in salvaging our nation during the Civil War. The series was sparked when Moore learned of an ancestor – a great-uncle going back several generations – who was enslaved as a child and later enlisted in the Union Army. Though his works are deeply rooted in history, Moore uses contemporary models and subjects to tell the stories of Black men fighting for a country that didn’t recognize them as citizens. By placing present-day figures in historical contexts, Moore highlights the persisting racial and political divisions in America.

The following section features works from Moore’s 2022 series, Midnight and Canaan–his first body of work to depict the early history of Black people in Detroit: their contribution to the city, their agency, and their efforts to help others escape bondage. The series title refers to the code words used by anti-slavery abolitionists and freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad (Midnight for Detroit, Canaan for Canada). Moore’s newest series looks to an earlier time in Detroit’s history when French colonists first established the fur trade along the Detroit River. The series uncovers the parallel growth of the slave trade and the use of enslaved Black people to transport furs. For this series, Moore again works with contemporary models to draw direct connections between historical figures and the living who inherited these legacies.

Collectively, the works on view in Revolutionary Times celebrate Black power and resistance. They challenge us to consider Michigan’s Black pioneers, prior to the Great Migration, and to contemplate the challenges, stamina, and willpower of Black people from the past– and question how the legacies of these resistance efforts prevail today.

This exhibition has been organized by the Flint Institute of Arts.

About the Artist

    Mario Moore, a Detroit native, received a BFA from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI in 2009 and an MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT in 2013. Moore’s paintings focus on the personal, social and political implications of our segregated society. Presenting stories of his own life and those of friends and family, Moore weaves in multiple references to history, art, politics and literature to complete his narrative. He is a recent Kresge Arts Fellow (2023) awarded through the Kresge Foundation and a recipient of the prestigious Princeton Hodder Fellowship (2018 – 2019) through Princeton University. He also has been awarded residencies at Duke University, Josef and Annie Albers Foundation, Fountainhead, and Knox College. Moore’s work is in the permanent collections of but not limited to the Detroit Institute of Arts, Princeton University Art Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Mott-Warsh Collection, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, California African American Museum, Flint Institute of Art and The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

    Moore’s work has been widely exhibited, including at The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, NJ; the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, IL; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI; David Klein Gallery, Detroit, MI; Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Colby College Museum of Art and is currently in the Smithsonian Sites Exhibition (traveling), Men of Change. His most recent major exhibitions Mario Moore / Enshrined: Presence & Preservation, the largest survey of Moore’s work to date, opened at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit in June 2021 and at the California African American Museum (CAAM) in March 2022, also his first solo exhibition on the West Coast. Moore’s next museum exhibition Revolutionary Times will open in January 2024 at the Flint Institute of Arts. Mario Moore currently works and lives in Detroit, MI.

Lead Exhibition Support

Exhibition Support

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:

Wege Foundation
Beusse & Porter Family Foundation
The Jury Foundation
The Louis and Helen Padnos Foundation
Haworth Helps
Dirk and June Hoffius
Jeffery Roberts Design
Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough


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