Nordic Utopia? African Americans in the 20th Century @ National Nordic Museum

New at Nordic 🖼

📸: Sunflowers by Walter Henry Williams, Jr. | Courtesy National Nordic Museum

📆 On display March 23rd – July 21st
🎟 $0 – $20
📍 National Nordic Museum: 2655 NW Market St, Seattle

In the 20th Century, some Black Americans sought to escape the oppressive conditions of the United States and looked to other distant shores to explore their artistry, sexuality, and understanding of the world. Many know that a particular cultural milieu of Black artists found a haven in Paris, but fewer know that a community of Black Americans also sought refuge in Nordic countries during the previous century. 

In the first comprehensive museum show about this topic, Nordic Utopia? African Americans in the 20th Century at the National Nordic Museum in Ballard takes a closer look at the history and cultural production of African Americans who settled down for a period or a lifetime in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. 

Curated by Dr. Ethelene Whitmire of the University of Wisconsin – Madison with Nordic Museum chief curator Leslie Anne Anderson, this exhibition features paintings, textiles, artifacts, music, and dance pieces made by a wide array of Black artists like Expressionist painter Herb Gentry, designer Howard Smith, dancer Doug Crutchfield, and jazz legend Dexter Gordon. And between the weeks of April 26th and May 6th, Spectrum Dance Theater will be on deck performing an original piece choreographed by Donald Byrd in response to Home.s., the posthumously-released record by Swedish jazz pianist Esbjörn Svensson.

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An author pic of Jas Keimig. They have blue braids.

Jas Keimig

Jas Keimig is an arts and culture writer in Seattle. Their work has previously appeared in The Stranger, i-D, Netflix, and Feast Portland. They won a game show once and have a thing for stickers.