Spiritual Nature:
Michael Massenburg

A series about the African diaspora experience in the Americas


November 17, 2022 - January 20, 2023

In this solo show, Massenburg’s wonderfully vibrant paintings function as a ritual to “connect the dots” spanning the connection of cultural and spiritual practices from the Motherland to the New World. Inspired by travels to Senegal, Haiti, Cuba, and Colombia, it illustrates a tale of survival and salvation, tracing the journey of his ancestors from enslavement to empowerment, and evoking questions about the notions of status and place in the world.

With this long overdue exhibition, this body of work's intention is to speak to the continued exploration of how the experiences of African peoples historically, in the diaspora, relate to the contemporary Americas in the cultural and spiritual realm. A celebration of black culture and its resilience, Massenburg creates paintings that move from abstraction to figuration, weaving in color, gestures, and figures, culminating in a powerful exultation of Black Spirit and Black Pride.

Massenburg affirms his place among his peers (artists like John Outerbridge and Kerry James Marshall), and as mentor to countless younger artists. Massenburg was one of the founding members of The Collective, a group of black artists in Los Angeles that were always intergenerational and interdisciplinary. Together they created artworks, curated exhibitions, engaged in workshops and conversations to educate and empower the community.

At the exhibition there will be a limited edition print on offer to help fundraise for the John T Riddle Scholarship. John T. Riddle, Jr. was an American artist known for his paintings and sculptures. Riddle’s metal assemblage sculptures, created from the debris of the Watts riots, are among his best-known works.

Exhibition Dates:

November 17, 2022 - January 20, 2023

Opening Reception:

November 17, 2022
4pm - 7pm

Gallery location and hours:
DaVinci Hall, First Floor
Mon-Fri: 12p-4p
Exhibition Curator:
Elizabeth Preger
VAMA Department Vice Chair
Department Chair:
Alex Wiesenfeld

Department Vice Chair (Photography):