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Michael Ray Charles

Michael Ray Charles

September 5, 2019 - January 12, 2020

Since the 1990s, Michael Ray Charles' art has addressed the ongoing struggle for equality and social justice. Charles engages stereotypes of black people to reveal age-old biases that take new forms in our contemporary world. His art appropriates images from a long history of American advertising, memorabilia, commercial packaging, radio and television. His relevant and poignant art fits with the UMLAUF's goal of diversifying its exhibitions and highlighting the trajectories that art has taken since Charles Umlauf's era. 

The exhibition includes brand new paintings Charles will create specifically for the UMLAUF show, his complete 2018 Flatbed Press print portfolio (with a poem by Meta DuEwa Jones), and historical objects lent from Charles’ personal research collection. Dr. Cherise Smith, Chair and Associate Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies at UT Austin, will contribute an essay and speak on Michael Ray Charles' work. Check back for a schedule of upcoming programming, including a screening of the documentary 13th (directed by Ava DuVernay), and a Symposium of leaders, activists, and scholars speaking on the sociological concept of 'Otherness'.  

Charles was a featured artist in the first season of the award-winning PBS series Art 21: Art in the 21st Century, along with Matthew Barney, Mel Chin and Andrea Zittel. His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe, including exhibitions at Cotthem Gallery, Brussels, Belgium; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY; Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH; Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and Galerie Hans Mayer, Dusseldorf, Germany. In 2018, he was awarded the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given to a practicing artist. Charles is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Painting at the University of Houston and a senior member of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences faculty.


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