October 02, 2018
The title of the exhibition is derived from the 1965 gospel-influenced soul song by Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions. Informed by the civil rights movement and his grandmothers’ preaching, the lyrics speak of hope, faith and redemption in the face of hardship. “People Get Ready” was sampled and reinterpreted that same year as a ska track by Bob Marley and the Wailers, and then again in 1977 as his reggae hit “One Love/People Get Ready,” demonstrating its historical import and cross-cultural appeal.
People Get Ready extends into The Collection Galleries in Wilson Pavilion, integrating some contemporary art among historical works in the collection. In doing so, connections across time, space and culture become possible and present the opportunity for challenging dialogue. In the Modern Gallery, the related mini-exhibition People Get Ready: Southern Lens explores southern culture through the museum’s rapidly growing photography collection. An early breakthrough work by Fred Wilson, Colonial Collection, anchors the Arts of Africa Gallery, among traditional works of art from the continent. A painting by Kehinde Wiley is now on view in the European Gallery; a work by Pedro Lasch reflects upon works in the Art of the Americas Gallery; a photograph by Eve Sussman brings a new dimension to the Medieval Gallery.