Curated by artist Will Stovall, the exhibition highlights 1960–70s DC art history, including protest and community posters
WASHINGTON, DC—The Phillips Collection presents Lou Stovall: The Museum Workshop, which showcases approximately 80 works including prints, paintings, sculptures, and photographs drawn from the private collection of Lou Stovall and the Phillips. The exhibition reexamines the history and legacy of the Dupont Center, an artist’s museum founded in Washington, DC, in 1969. Under the visionary collaboration of curator Walter Hopps and artist Lou Stovall, the Dupont Center advanced a new, innovative model for the museum as a place for exhibitions, artmaking, and community building. The Dupont Center became DC’s meeting place for artists of different cultures and generations. Lou Stovall: The Museum Workshop will be on view from July 23 to October 9, 2022.
This exhibition presents work produced by artists at the workshop and collected by Stovall between 1969 and 1973, as well as Stovall’s early community posters from 1967 and 1968, which document DC in a time of protest and upheaval. The presentation at The Phillips Collection brings together a variety of art from the workshop created by artists working in DC, including sculpture by Rockne Krebs and Leni Stern, photography by William Christenberry and John Gossage, and paintings by Sam Gilliam, Thomas Downing, and Paul Reed.
“Throughout our centennial, we have honored the contributions of the DC arts community,” says Vradenburg Director and CEO Dorothy Kosinski. “Lou Stovall’s artwork provides an opportunity not only to connect with our local heritage but also to consider how the arts play a pivotal role in giving voice to national movements. Given the many challenges we face in the world today, it is especially important to reflect on the power of the arts as catalysts for change in society.”
The Center in Dupont Circle continued the legacy of the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts, which, a generation before, paved the way for the influential Washington Color School. Stovall collaborated with many artists from that movement while opening the Center to emerging voices. Collectively, they reignited the city’s cultural landscape.
“I am so excited that this show, which is taking place in the year of my father’s 85th birthday, also marks the 50th anniversary of when he and my mother both exhibited at The Phillips Collection in August 1972,” notes the artist’s son and Guest Curator Will Stovall.
Hopps came to DC from LA where he was an organizing presence in the city’s art scene. Inspired by a renaissance idea of bringing together artists who are working in different mediums, he reimagined one of DC’s contemporary art museums, the Washington Gallery of Modern Art. At the same time, Stovall was making a name for himself as an important community printmaker. Hopps invited Stovall to move his workshop into the museum and what emerged was a new concept of what a museum could be: a place for both exhibition and artistic practice.
“We are deeply honored to have Lou Stovall partner with us on this exhibition, and thrilled that his son Will Stovall is serving as guest curator,” says Chief Curator Elsa Smithgall. “The exhibition brings to light an important chapter in DC’s vibrant cultural life that prospered under the creative vision of noted printmaker Lou Stovall.”
ABOUT LOU STOVALL
Artist Lou Stovall was born in Athens, Georgia, and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1962, Stovall moved to Washington, DC, to attend Howard University where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 1968, Stovall founded Workshop, Inc. in the Georgetown Art District where he collaborated with local DC artists including his wife, Di Stovall. A year later, he was invited by famed curator and director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Walter Hopps, to bring his practice into the former Washington Gallery of Modern Art in Dupont Center. The Dupont Center was created, serving as a learning and collaboration space for artists such as Lloyd McNeil, Gene Davis, William Christenberry, and Sam Gilliam. Stovall’s own artistic practice is characterized by his sophisticated silkscreen prints complete with lush color palettes and sensitive allusions to nature. Over the years he has collaborated with many other prominent artists, including Jacob Lawrence and Elizabeth Catlett.
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IMAGE: Lou Stovall, Peace, 1969, Silkscreen print, Five-part protest poster, 35 x 23 in. (each), Courtesy of the artist
ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921. The museum houses one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist and American modern art collections, and continues to grow its collection with important contemporary voices. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its diverse and experimental special exhibitions and events, including its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; renowned Phillips Music series; and dynamic art and wellness and Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to global dialogues with events like Conversations with Artists and Artists of Conscience. The Phillips Collection values its community partnership with THEARC—the museum’s satellite campus in Southeast DC. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations.