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William T. Williams (b.1942)


1 of 11

Mercer's Stop, 1971
acrylic on canvas
108" x 84", signed and dated

Texas Lady, 1973
acrylic on canvas
84" x 60", signed and dated

Cobalt II, 1974
acrylic on canvas
84" x 60", signed

Union Jack, 1978
acrylic on canvas
84" x 54 1/4", signed and dated

Crossroads, 1984
acrylic on canvas
75 1/4" x 44 1/4", signed and dated

Blues Labyrinth, 1991
acrylic on canvas
60" x 41 1/2" 
signed and dated

Quick Step, 2000
acrylic on plywood
24" x 16", signed and dated

Reapers, 2000
acrylic on plywood
24" x 16" 
signed and dated

Evidence, 2016
acrylic on canvas
48 1/8" x 28 1/8", signed and dated

Blue Debate, 2007
acrylic on canvas
60 1/4" x 36 1/8", signed and dated

Let Me Know, 2017
acrylic on canvas
60 1/4" x 40 1/8", signed and dated


Exhibitions


New & Noteworthy

Homes of Color, January/February 2006

VanDerZee Awards

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American Visions Magazine, February/March 1999

by Richard J. Powell

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El Nacional, May 17 1997

by Adreina Gomez

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Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 13, 1995

by Janet Tyson

The New York Times, July 14, 1995

by Holland Cotter

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The New Art Examiner, March 1995

by Thomas Wojtas

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Newark Museum, 1995

by Joe Jacobs

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Metro Times, July 6-12, 1994

by Hobey Echlin

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Detroit Free Press, July 3, 1994

by Marsha Miro

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Preview Magazine, North Carolina Museum of Art, Summer 1994

by Virginia Burden

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The Spring Lake News, December 29, 1993

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The News and Observer, July 18, 1993

by Chuck Twardy

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News and Record, February 4, 1993

by Verena Dobnik

The City Sun, September 1992

by Franklin Sirmans

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The New York Times, August 28, 1992

by Holland Cotter

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The New York Times, November 7, 1991

by William Zimmer

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Economia Hoy, May 24, 1991

by Tosca Grasso

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El Diario de Caracas, May 20, 1991

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The Daily Journal, May 19, 1991

by Muriel Pilkington

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American Visions Magazine, April 1991

by Valerie J. Mercer

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Black American Literature Forum, Fall 1990

by Michel Oren

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The New York Times, October 30, 1988

by William Zimmer

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Smithsonian Magazine, May 1987

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The New York Times, December 7, 1986

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American Visions Magazine, Nov-Dec 1986

by Lee A. Daniels

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The Charlotte Observer, June 23, 1985

by Richard Maschal

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Winston-Salem Journal, June 23, 1985

by Genie Carr

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School of Arts Journal, 1985

by Victor Kord

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The New York Times, March 1, 1981

by David L. Shirey

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The Impartial Citizen, February 18-24, 1981

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Arts Magazine, February 1981

by April Kinglsey

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The Village Voice, March 3, 1980

by Carrie Rickey

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State of the Unions, February 1980

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The Soho Weekly News, February 27, 1980

by John Perreault

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The Capital Times, January 26, 1980

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Greensboro Daily News, August 19, 1973

by Patricia Krebs

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Life Magazine, September 24, 1971

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The New York Times, March 13, 1971

by David L. Shirey

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ArtNews, April 1971

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ArtNews, 1971

by Frank Bowling

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Arts Magazine, September-October 1970

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Arts Magazine, February 1970

by Dore Ashton

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Arts Magazine, September-October 1969

by M.B.

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Prints & Publications


Artist Information

“One of the things I remember most is ... people asking me … ‘Why are you making abstraction? It’s not African American art.’ And I would always say, “Well … you tell me what it should look like. Jazz is the most abstract of all music. Music is totally abstract. How can you not say there’s a tradition of abstraction?’ I would talk about quilts, point out that the geometry of quilts is certainly coming out of abstraction. There is this rich tradition; all you have to do is see it and to use it.”             

The work of William T. Williams ranges in style from his early geometric abstractions, to almost-monochromatic explorations of texture, to an abstraction that derives its force from productive tension among colors and forms. While he has consistently tested the limits of his earlier styles and developed new approaches, his meticulous attention to the process of art making has remained constant. A master of brushwork and color, Williams creates his paintings in series, working through a labor-intensive process that often includes drawings, watercolors, and prints.

From the outset of his career, Williams’ art was characterized by bold color and daring compositions that paid homage to and challenged the abstraction that had come before it. He emerged at a time when abstract expressionism was in decline, while pop art, color field painting, and minimalism were on the rise. Concurrent with this aesthetic transition were social and political transformations that saw artists, intellectuals, and activists challenging the exclusionary practices of New York’s white- and male-dominated art institutions. These critiques came in multiple forms, including an approach to art that favored figural representation embedded in a politics of struggle and an assertion of identities misrepresented by or excluded from American culture. Such images were a necessary correction to a history of omission and caricature, but they risked being received by the art establishment in a way that affirmed its tendency to ignore work by abstract artists who were also African American.

Living in an artist loft building on Broadway that over the years included neighbors Kenneth Noland, Joel Shapiro, Janet Fish, and William Copley, Williams believed that abstraction offered him greater creative and expressive freedom than figural representation, but he was also wary of the potential cold, impersonal aspect of painting that was merely about painting. Williams thus developed an approach that rendered the abstract representational, not only through titles replete with autobiographical references, but also in the shapes he incorporates. These shapes resonate with cultural history and personal memories of a childhood spent in the northern, urban environments of New York as well as the southern landscapes of rural North Carolina. Jazz, too, became an important site of convergence where memory, history, and a black American abstract tradition met. Finally, quilting was for Williams another manifestation of an African American tradition of abstraction. His artwork often incorporates the diamond shape as a visual motif that functioned “as a stabilizing force, a form that interacts compositionally with what's around it. But it goes back to the quilts of my childhood, the patterns and forms I grew up with.”

The synthesis between personal/cultural narrative and abstraction that Williams developed early on in his career was met with deserved success. Born in rural North Carolina, Williams moved to New York with his family as a youth. He attended the School of Industrial Art (now the High School of Art and Design), before enrolling at Pratt Institute in 1962. At Pratt, he studied with some of the foremost figurative painters of the day including Richard Lindner, Philip Pearlstein and Alex Katz, but it was painter Richard Bove who encouraged Williams to work from intuition and memory rather than from observation. The resulting abstract work found support amongst his professors whose encouragement led Williams to pursue graduate studies at Yale University. The graduate department at Yale provided a rigorous theoretical foundation and studio practice for the artist as the faculty included George Wardlaw, with whom Williams studied during his first year, Jack Tworkov, Al Held, Lester Johnson, and others. Held played a particularly encouraging and influential role for Williams. “[It was the] best experience I ever had. [Held] was relentless in terms of pushing me….it was really good for me because it forced me to focus on what I wanted to do and why I was doing it.”

Williams completed his MFA at Yale in 1968 and in 1969, now living in New York, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) purchased his Elbert Jackson, L.A.M.F. Part II (1969). That same year, he was included in the Whitney Biennial and he organized X to the Fourth Power at the newly opened Studio Museum in Harlem. A Smokehouse muralist from 1968 to 1970, Williams was instrumental in establishing the artist-in-residence program at The Studio Museum, which remains to this day a core mission objective. In 1971, Reese Palley Gallery, New York mounted Williams’ first solo exhibition and he began teaching at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY), where he was on faculty for four decades, inspiring hundreds of students including Nari Ward and Arthur Simms. In 1965, he spent a summer in Maine as a student at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, returning as faculty in 1971, 1974, 1978, and 1979; the latter year he served as pro tem Director. In 1975, Bob Blackburn invited Williams to make a print at the Printmaking Workshop; over the next 22 years, Williams collaborated with Blackburn to produce 19 editions, as well as a number of unique print projects. In 1977, he participated in the Second World Festival of Black Art and African Culture, held in Lagos, Nigeria, which marked his first time in Africa. The trip, especially the movements of patterned clothing he saw on the street, had a profound effect on his art, and Williams began a series of paintings inspired by this African tradition of abstraction.

Williams has continued to revise, adapt, and transform his style, and this dynamism combined with a consistent set of formal and thematic concerns has contributed to the longevity of his luminous career. Williams has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including: a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987), The Studio Museum in Harlem Artist’s Award (1992), a National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship (1994), the Brandywine Workshop’s James Van Der Zee Award for lifetime achievement in the arts (2005), the North Carolina Governors Award for the Fine Arts (2006), and the Alain Locke International Award from the Detroit Institute of Art (2011). The Cumberland County native is also the first African American contemporary artist to have his work (Batman, 1979) included in the widely-used reference work The History of Art by H.W. Janson.

For over forty years, Williams’ work has consistently been shown at home and abroad. Representation in groundbreaking exhibitions includes, To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Addison Gallery of American Art, 1999); What is Painting?  (MoMA, 2007); Blues for Smoke (Museum of Contemporary Art, LA) and Witness: Art and Civil Rights in The Sixties (2014, Brooklyn Museum of Art).  Currently, he is featured in the inaugural exhibition at the National Museum of African American Art and Culture (Washington, DC) and his work is included in the exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power previously at the Tate Modern and now on view at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR (February 3 - April 23, 2018) and traveling to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY (September 7, 2018 - February 3, 2019). For this exhibition, as part of its ongoing series of artist documentaries, the Tate Modern produced a short documentary film about the artist, providing a rare and intimate glimpse into his world.

He is represented in over thirty public collections, including the Detroit Institute of the Art (MI); Fogg Museum (Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA); The Menil Collection (Houston, TX); Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Collection (Albany, NY);  North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC); The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, NY); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), and the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT).

Williams continues to live and work between New York City and Connecticut. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC is the exclusive representative of William T. Williams.

Smokehouse, 1968-1970
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
April 20 – August 27, 2017
https://www.studiomuseum.org

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
Tate Modern, London, England
July 12 - October 22, 2017
http://www.tate.org.uk/

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR
February 2 – April 23, 2018
http://crystalbridges.org/

Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
September 7, 2018 – February 3, 2019
https://www.brooklynmuseum.org

A Collaborative Language: Selections from the Experimental Printmaking Institute
The Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, Philadephia, PA
August 12 - November 5, 2017
https://www.pafa.org/

1962
New York Community College, New York, NY

1965
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME

1966
BFA, Pratt Institute, New York, NY

1968
MFA, Yale University, School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, CT

SELECTED PUBLIC AND CORPORATE COLLECTIONS

Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID
Colby College Museum of Art, Colby College, Waterville, ME
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Art Collection, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Fisk University Galleries, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Hampton University Museum, Hampton University, Hampton, VA
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN
The Menil Collection, Houston, TX
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA
Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY
Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NB
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Tougaloo College Art Collection, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS
University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL
University of Maine Museum of Art, University of Maine, Bangor, ME
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, CT

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

1971
William T. Williams: One Man Show, Reese Palley Gallery, New York, NY

1975
William T. Williams, The Fisk University Galleries, Fisk University, Nashville, TN

1976
William T. Williams, Carlton Gallery, New York, NY
William T. Williams, Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, College of Fine Arts, Illinois State University, Normal, IL

1977
William T. Williams, Miami-Dade Community College Art Gallery, Miami, FL

1979
William T. Williams, Stout Art Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Menomonie, WI

1980
William T. Williams, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

1981
William T. Williams: Recent Paintings, Touchstone Gallery, New York, NY
William T. Williams: College Art Gallery, Montclair State College, Upper Montclair, NJ

1985
William T. Williams: An Exhibition of Paintings from 1974-1985, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC

1988
Diamond in a Box Series: Works on Paper and on Canvas, 1977-1987 by William T. Williams, Bacardi Art Gallery, Miami, FL

1991
William T. Williams: Fourteen Paintings, The Montclair Museum of Art, Montclair, NJ

1992
William T. Williams: Recent Paintings and Works on Paper, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY


1994
William T. Williams, A Twentieth Century Master - Works on Paper, Sherry Washington Gallery, Detroit, MI

1995
William T. Williams: 1970 and Today, The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ

1997
William T. Williams: Africa Abstracted, Sherry Washington Gallery, Detroit, MI

2006
William T. Williams: Paintings, Peg Alston Fine Arts, Inc. New York, NY

2009
William T. Williams: Theme and Variations, Morris R. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, Easton, PA

2010
William T. Williams: Variations on Themes, The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

2017
William T. Williams: Things Unknown, Paintings 1968-2017, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

1966
Annual Art Exhibition and Sale: Presented By the Lenox Hill Hospital and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Einhorn Auditorium, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY
First New Paltz Intercollegiate Student Exhibition, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

1968
Inaugural Show, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

1969
American Contemporary Art, American Embassy, Moscow, USSR; organized by Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
5+1, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY
X to the Fourth Power, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Young Artists from the Charles Cowles Collection, Larry Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT

1970
Using Walls (Outdoors), The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
L'Art Vivant Aux Etats-Unis, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Critic's Choice 1969-70, New York, NY; Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY; New York State University Colleges at Fredonia, Buffalo College, Oswego, Brockport, New Paltz
New Acquisitions, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

1971
The Deluxe Show, organized by The Menil Foundation, The Deluxe Theater, Houston, TX
Kolner Konstmerkt, Cologne, Germany
The Structure of Color, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Some American History, organized by The Menil Foundation, Institute for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, TX; University of Texas, Austin, TX; Fort Worth Art Center, Fort Worth, TX

1972
Small Works, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Acquisitions, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Painting and Sculpture Today, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
Group Show, Reese Palley Gallery, New York, NY
Edwards, Gilliam, Williams: Interconnections, Wabash Transit Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Drawings by New York Artists, Utah Museum of Fine Art, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Henry Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; University Art Collections, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ;
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; Hayden Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
1972 Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Painting, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

1974
Copeland Colloquiam, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA
Extensions: Gilliam/Edwards/Williams, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

1975
24 x 24, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
Amistad II: Afro-American Art, Fisk University Galleries, Fisk University, Nashville, TN

1976
A Selection of American Art, 1946-1976, The Skowhegan School, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
Resonance: Williams/Edwards/Gilliam, Murphy Fine Arts Center, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

1977
Selective Alumni, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn College Art Department, Past and Present, 1942-1977, Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York, NY
Second World Black and African Festival of Art and Culture, Nigerian National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria
Afro-American Artists Working in the Abstract Continuum, Just Above Midtown Gallery, New York, NY
Artists Salute Skowhegan, Kennedy Galleries, New York, NY 

1978
Skowhegan Faculty, Colby College Museum of Art, Colby College, Waterville, ME
Print Portfolio: Brooklyn College Art Department, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, Purchase, NY
New Dimensions: Art Works by Black American Artists, Miami-Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL

1979
Selections from Skowhegan, Art Gallery at the University of Maryland, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
New Sensibilities, 22 Wooster Street Gallery, New York, NY
Another Generation, The Studio Museum In Harlem, New York, NY
Recent Works by Manuel Hughes, William T. Williams and Jack Whitten, Alternative Center for International Arts, New York, NY

1980
Islamic Illusions, Alternative Museum, New York, NY
Retour Aux Sources, Une Exposition en Afrique D’Artistes Afro-Americains 1980, Galerie D'Art Mitkal, Abidijan, Cote D'Ivoire
Afro-American Abstraction: An Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture by Nineteen Black American Artists, Institute for Art and Urban Resources-PS 1, Long Island City, NY; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Art Center, South Bend, IN; Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA
Dialects, Franklin Furnace, New York, NY
Color and Surface, Touchstone Gallery, New York, NY
The Nineteen Seventies: Prints and Drawings, Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, MA
10 + 10: An Invitational, Miami-Dade Public Library, Miami, FL

1981
Abstract Painting, New York City 1981, Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra University Museum, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
Winners All, Pratt Institute Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Pratt Manhattan Center Gallery, New York, NY
CAPS 1980-81: Graphic Artists, Painters, Photographers, Sculptors, Museum of Art, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, NY; Bard College Art Gallery, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Afro-American Painting, Sculpture, Works on Paper, 1864-1980, Goucher College Art Gallery, Towson, MD
Recent Acquisitions of the Schomburg Collection, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY

1983
New Acquisitions and Promised Gifts, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
The Art Mobile, Skowhegan Series, Miami-Dade Public Library, Miami, FL
Jus’ Jass: Correlations of Painting and Afro-American Classical Music
Celebrating Contemporary American Black Artists, Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, Hempstead, NY

1984
Since the Harlem Renaissance, The Art Center, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA; Amalie A.Wallace Art Gallery, State University of New York at Westbury, Westbury, NY; Museum of Art, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, NY; The Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; Museum of Art, Penn State University, University Park, PA
East-West Contemporary American Art, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA
In a Stream of Ink, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA; Lehman College, Bronx, NY; The African American Museum, Dallas, TX; Center for Art and Culture, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY

1985
37th Annual Purchase Exhibition-Hassam and Speicher Fund, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
Through a Master Printer: Robert Blackburn and The Printmaking Workshop, The Columbia Museum, Columbia, SC; The Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MI 
New Color Abstraction: Sam Gilliam, Al Loving, William T. Williams, Cleveland State University Art Gallery, Cleveland, OH
Artists as Mentors: A Special Exhibition of Works by its Artistic Committee and Selected Emerging Artists, The Cinque Gallery, New York, NY
Tribute – Robert Blackburn, Association of Community-Based Artists of Westchester, Mount Vernon, NY

1986
Art from the City University of New York-Approaches to Abstraction, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China
Born in North Carolina, Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, NC
Transitions: the Afro-American Artist, Bergen Museum of Art and Science, Paramus, NJ 
Masters and Pupils-The Education of the Black Artist in New York: 1900-1980, Jamaica Arts Center, Jamaica, NY; Metropolitan Life Insurance Gallery, New York, NY
Choosing: An Exhibit of Changing Perspectives in Modern Art and Art Criticism by Black Americans, 1925-1985, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL; Chicago State University, Chicago, IL; Portsmouth Museum, Portsmouth, VA; Howard University, Washington, DC
A Celebration of The Touchstone Gallery and a Tribute to its Founder Barbara Hirschl, Touchstone Gallery, New York, NY

1987
The Art of Black America in Japan, Terade Warehouse Exhibition Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Contemporary Visual Expressions: The Art of Sam Gilliam, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Keith Morrison and William T. Williams, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Printmaking at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn College Art Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

1988
40th Annual Academy-Institute Purchase Exhibition, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
New Painterly Abstraction, Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ
Vivian Browne/William T. Williams, Jamaica Arts Center, Jamaica, NY
Forty Years, Robert Blackburn and The Printmaking Workshop, Miami-Dade Public Library, Miami, FL

1989 
Introspectives: Contemporary Art by Americans & Brazilians of African Descent, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY
Diverse Abstractions, M-13 Gallery, New York, NY

1990
Dedication Exhibition, James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
A Force of Repetition, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
PMW at CWW, City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ
Prints by African Americans from The Printmaker’s Workshop, Mid-Hudson Arts and Science Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

1991
Espiritu & Materia: Estética Alternativa Norteamericana, Museo de Artes Visuales Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela
Black and White Prints, Lorence-Monk Gallery, New York, NY
African-American Works on Paper from the Cochran Collection, New Visions Gallery, Atlanta, GA
The Search for Freedom: African American Abstract Painting, Kenkeleba Gallery, New York, NY

1992
Dream Singers and Story Tellers: An African American Presence, Fukui Fine Arts Museum, Fukui, Japan; Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Tokushima, Japan; Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya, Japan; New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop: Artists of Color, Hillwood Art Museum, Long Island University, Brookville, NY; Bronx River Art Center and Gallery, Bronx, NY
Summer/Selections from The Printmaking Workshop Collection, Printmaking Workshop Gallery, New York, NY

1993
Jazz Impressions, Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Color Options: A Director’s Choice Exhibition Honoring the Memory of Robert K. Fink, The Fine Arts Gallery, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY
The 25th Anniversary Exhibition: Recent Acquisitions and Selected Works from The Studio Museum in Harlem, Part II, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Works from the Peg Alston Collection, Peg Alston Fine Arts, New York, NY
Robert Blackburn: Inspiration & Innovation in American Printmaking, Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba, New York, NY

1994
The Studio Museum in Harlem: 25 Years of African-American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh, PA; The Art Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; Scottsdale Art Center, Scottsdale, Arizona; Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, NY; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX; The Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, IL; The New York State Museum, Albany, NY; The Mexican Museum, San Francisco, CA; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME; Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA; Hecksher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY; The Lowe Art Gallery, University of Miami, Miami, FL
The Robert Blackburn Legacy: The Printmaking Workshop at Forty-Five, The Newark Public Library, Newark, NJ
African-American Printmakers: The Printmaking Workshop, Printmaking Workshop Gallery, New York, NY

1995
Prints from the Columbia Museum of Art Collection, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
Painting After Abstract Expressionism, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
African-American Printmaking - 1838 to the Present, Rockland Center for the Arts, West Nyack, NY

1996
Twentieth Century African American Art from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Walker, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AK

1997
Seeing Jazz: Artists and Writers on Jazz, organized by SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) as part of America’s Jazz Heritage; International Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL; Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA; Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT; Museum of Art, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute of Art, Utica, NY; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV; Museum of the Southwest, Midland, TX

1998
Black New York Artists of the 20th Century: Selections from the Schomburg Center Collection, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, New York, NY
Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection, The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME; The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
The Jewish Museum List Graphic Commission, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY

1999
To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, The Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Clark Atlanta University Art Gallery with The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Duke University Museum of Art with North Carolina Central University Art Museum, Durham, NC; Fisk University with Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN; Hampton University Art Museum with the Chrysler Museum, Hampton and Norfolk, VA

2002
No Greater Love: Abstraction, Jack Tilton/Anna Kustera Gallery, New York, NY
Successions: Prints by African American Artists from the Jean and Robert Steele Collection, The Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Art Gallery, Carleton College, Northfield, MN; University Art Gallery, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA; Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA; The James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD; Art Museum, North Carolina Central University, NC; Tubman African American Museum, Macon, GA; Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS;  Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, MA; The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

2003
Convergence, James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Creative Space: Fifty Years of Robert Blackburn's Printmaking Workshop, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Group Show 2003, Peg Alston Fine Arts Inc., New York, NY

2004
Ascension: Works by African American Artists of North Carolina, Diggs Gallery, Winston Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC
Something To Look Forward To: An Exhibition Featuring Abstract Art by 22 Distinguished Americans of African Descent, The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA; Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY; Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, KS; California African-American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan, MI; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; Robeson Galleries, Penn State University, University Park, PA
Images of America: African American Voices: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Walker, Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville, AR

2005
The Chemistry of Color: The Harold A. and Ann R. Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African-American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
Syncopated Rhythms: 20th Century African American Art from the Collection of George and Joyce Wein, Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA

2006
Innovation and Creativity in Printmaking, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Energy Experimentation: Black Artist and Abstraction 1964-1980, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Common Ground: 12 African-American Artists from the S.B.C. Corporate Collection of Twentieth Century of American Art, SBC Gallery, San Antonio, TX

2007
What is Painting?, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Something to Look Forward To, Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI; Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; HUB-Robeson Galleries, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

2008
In Search of Missing Masters: The Lewis Tanner Moore Collection of African American Art, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA

2009
Sound: Print: Record: African American Legacies, University Museums, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art, The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland College Park, MD
Highlights from The David C. Driskell Center Permanent Collection, The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

2010
Abstract Relations, University Museums, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

2012
Blues for Smoke, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Narrative of African American Art and Identity, The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Convergence: Jazz, Films and the Visual Arts, The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Museum of Art, Bates College, Lewiston, MA
African American Art Since 1950: Perspectives from The David C. Driskell Center, organized by Smithsonian Institute of Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES), The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA; Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL; Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA; The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Charlotte, NC; Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH
Magical Visions: Ten Contemporary African American Artists, University Museums, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

2014
Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the 60’s, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX
Beyond the Spectrum: Abstraction in African-American Art 1950-1975, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
Conversations: African and African American Artwork in Dialogue, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC
Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art, The Saint Louis University Museum of Art, Saint Louis, MO

2015
Colour Correction: British and American Screen Prints, 1967-1975, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC

2016
Beyond Borders: Bill Hutson & Friends, University Museums, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
Visual Art and The American Experience, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC

2017
Third Space: Shifting Conversations about Contemporary Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, London, England; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Expanding Tradition: Selections from the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA
Smokehouse, 1968-1970, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

2018      
Out of Control, curated by Peter and Sally Saul, Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY
Celebrating 50 Years of the US Open Championships, United States Tennis Association (USTA) President’s Suite, Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadows, NY

2019
Selections from The Studio Museum in Harlem, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI; Smith College Museum of Art, Smith College, Northampton, MA; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT

AWARDS & HONORS

1965
National Endowment for the Arts, Traveling Grant
The Leonard Bocour Award, New York, NY
Purchase Award: Painting (Honorable Mention), Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
Student Jury Award: Painting, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME

1966
Yale University, Grant for Graduate Study, New Haven, CT

1970
National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artist Award, Painting

1985, 1981
Creative Arts Public Service Grant, Painting, New York

1987, 1984, 1973
City University of New York, Faculty Research Award, Painting

1987-88
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, New York, NY

1992
The Studio Museum in Harlem Artist's Award

1994
Mid-Atlantic/NEA Regional Fellowship

1996
Joan Mitchell Foundation, Grant Award

1998
Golden Key National Honor Society, Honorary Member

2005
James Van Der Zee Award, Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, PA

2006
North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, NC

2008
The Studio Museum in Harlem Gala Honoree, New York, NY

2011
Alain Locke Award, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI

2017
Skowhegan Governors Award for Outstanding Service to Artists, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
National Academician Award, National Academy Museum, New York, NY

BOARDS & COMMITTEES

1969
Department of Cultural Affairs/The City of New York Consultant, New York, NY
North Carolina Arts Council Consultant, Raleigh, NC

1969-1970
The Studio Museum in Harlem Consultant, New York, NY

1976-1988
Cinque Gallery Advisory Committee, New York, NY

1972-1988
Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture Board of Governors, Skowhegan, ME

1980
Awards in the Visual Arts Fellowships Nominator, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC

1981
Cultural Council Foundation Judge/Artist Project, New York, NY
WNET/Thirteen Judge/Artist Competition, A THIRTEEN Salute to Neighborhoods New York, NY

1982
Creative Arts Public Service Program Advisor, New York, NY

1983 
Artists Fellowship Program Advisor, Artist Foundation, Inc., Boston, MA
Artist Fellowship Award Panelist, Painting, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA

1984-1986
Art Board of the Bellevue Association, Inc., Bellevue Hospital Center, New York, NY

1984-1986
Grace Church School Board of Trustees, New York, NY

1988
Metropolitan Transit Authority Advisor, Zeckendorf Project/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill New York, NY

1990-present
James E. Lewis Museum, Advisory Committee, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

1992
Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Nominator/Artists Fellowships, New York, NY

2001
The Joan Mitchell Foundation, Inc., Juror, MFA Grant Program, New York, NY

COMMISSIONS

1970
The Jewish Museum, New York, NY

1970
The Menil Foundation, Houston, TX
Gottesman Plaza, New York, NY

1971
H.K.L. Ltd. Publishers, Boston, MA

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

1968
Fort Valley State College, Fort Valley, GA

1969-70
University of the State of New York, New York, NY

1970
University of Delaware, Newark, DL

1972
Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN

1975
Fisk University, Nashville, TN

1976
Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

1980
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

1985-86
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

2005
Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, PA

2006
EPI Institute, Lafayette College, Easton, PA

1970
Painting Faculty, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY  

1970
Foundation Arts Faculty, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY    

1971, 1974, 1978
Resident Faculty, Summer, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME

1979
Pro tem Director, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME

1984-85  
Visiting Commonwealth Professor of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

1971-2008
Professor of Art, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY

2008-present
Professor Emeritus, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY

2018
Core Critic, Yale University, New Haven, CT