Revisiting 5+1 is a reflection on the historic 1969 Stony Brook University exhibition and features work by the original six artists, all of whom were Black men, with an addition of six Black women artists, all trailblazers at a time when their work in abstraction was challenged by both the mainstream art world and Black art institutions. Photographs and archival materials exhibited alongside the work provide additional contextual history from this era of student protests and racial justice on campus.
The 1969 exhibition, organized by artist Frank Bowling at the invitation of esteemed art critic and Stony Brook Professor of Art History Lawrence Alloway, coincided with the first semester of courses in a new Black Studies Program, created in response to student activism. Revisiting 5+1 illuminates the original exhibition’s dynamic university context and amplifies Black women artists’ contributions to debates around art and politics of Black identity. The accompanying catalog includes archival photographs of 5+1 by Adger Cowans and from the Frank Bowling Studio Archive, four scholarly essays, an interview with Stony Brook Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell, who selected the women artists and has work in the exhibition, and profiles of artists included in the exhibition.
The original 5+1 artists include Frank Bowling, Melvin Edwards, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Al Loving, Jack Whitten, and William T. Williams. Revisiting 5+1 also presents the work of Vivian Browne, Adger Cowans, Mary Lovelace O'Neal, Howardena Pindell, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, and Mildred Thompson.