Wadsworth Jarrell (b. 1929, Albany, GA)  is a founding member of AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists)*.  AfriCOBRA, founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 by a collective of young Black artists, whose interest in Transnational Black Aesthetics led them to create one of the most distinctive visual voices in 20th Century American art. The characteristic of the classic AfriCOBRA look are vibrant “Cool Ade” colors, bold text and positive images of Black people, essential to everyday life in the community from which the movement emerged. AfriCOBRA established a philosophical and aesthetic foundation for the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s. The founders’ vision has its roots in the streets, classrooms, studios and living rooms of the South Side, yet its impact has extended around the world, influencing artists such as Kerry James Marshall and Kehinde Wiley. Throughout his career, Wadsworth has celebrated the struggles, strengths and beauty of African Americans in his art.  

 

Jarrell is a painter and photographer who creates pattern-intensive portraits that combine vibrant colors with Black Power slogans to depict the intensity of political activism. He also documented the musical life that flourished in Chicago in the late 1960s and 1970s. Jarrell was a member of the Organization of Black American Culture and painted the “Rhythm and Blues” section of The Wall of Respect mural that was located on the South Side of Chicago. Currently, he continues to experiment in his practice with past and present topics surrounding blackness. He is married to Jae Jarrell. 

 

Mr. Jarrell’s work is in many collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, High Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. He was included in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power organized by Tate Modern which traveled to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Broad, DeYoung Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Other recent exhibitions include the AfricaCOBRA: Nation Time an official collateral event of the 58th Venice Biennale, AfriCOBRA: Messages to the People at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side 1960-1980 at the Smart Museum of Art, Heritage: Wadsworth and Jae Jarrell at The Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now at MCA Chicago, ICA Philadelphia, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2020, Wadsworth debuted his book AFRICOBRA: Experimental Art Towards a School of Thought and was interviewed with  Jae Jarrell  by  Hans Ulrich Obrist  as part of Obrist’s Interview Project. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and received his MFA from Howard University. Jarrell taught painting at Howard University and University of Georgia. In 2022, Wadsworth and Jae Jarrell will have solo exhibitions at Jenkins Johnson Gallery. He lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. 

 

*Five AfriCOBRA Founding Members:

Jeff Donaldson, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu and Gerald Williams.

 

1275 Minnesota Street, #200 | SAN FRANCISCO | CA 94107 | t. 415.677.0770207 Ocean Avenue | BROOKLYN | NY 11225 | t. 212.629.0707WADSWORTH AND JAE JARRELLWadsworth Jarrell (b. 1929, Albany, GA)andJae Jarrell (b. 1935, Cleveland, OH)are foundingmembersof AfriCOBRA(African Commune ofBad Relevant Artists)*.AfriCOBRA, founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 by acollective of young Black artists, whose interest inTransnationalBlack Aesthetics led them to create one of the most distinctive visual voices in 20thCentury American art.The characteristics ofthe classic AfriCOBRA look are vibrant “Kool-Aid” colors,bold text and positive images of Black people, essential to everyday life in thecommunity from which the movement emerged. AfriCOBRA established a philosophical and aesthetic foundation for the Black Artsmovementof the 1960s, and 70s. The founders’ vision has its roots in the streets, classrooms, studios, and living rooms of the South Side of Chicago, yet itsimpact has extended around the world,influencing artists such as Kerry James Marshall andKehindeWiley. Throughout their careers,Wadsworth, a painter, and Jae, a fashion designer, painter and sculptor have celebrated the struggles, strengths and beauty of African Americansin their art.Wadsworth Jarrell’spattern-intensive portraits combine vibrant colors with Black Power slogans, to depict theintensity of political activism, andexplore themes of music and performance.Wadsworth has developed many distinct bodies of work, including sculptures inspired by the Africancultural traditions, and a series of paintings dedicated to jazz musicians. Adistinctive tool Wadsworth has used in some paintings is abrick-layingtrowel, something he learned to utilize in 1982, while creating a300-footmural at the headquarters of Westinghouse Electric Company. AtFOG + Design we are pleased topresentworksfrom Jarrell’s jazz and boxing series.Jae Jarrellis known for herrevolution-themedclothing.Her garments exalt black families and culture andareworn by the artist in her daily life.Her grandfather was a professional tailor, and her uncle was a haberdasher and sold the notions needed for sewing. Jae taught herself how tomake her own clothing, and reveled in the fact that her fashion was unique, and had a secret vintage past. Jae’s work presented at FOG +Design were exhibited atAFRICOBRA: Nation Timea Collateral Event of the 58thLa Biennale di Venezia.TheJarrellsboth attended the Art Institute of Chicago. Wadsworth taught painting at Howard University and University of Georgia.Recentexhibitions includethe 58thVenice Biennale,ClevelandMuseum of Art, Smart Museum of Art,ICA Boston, and MoCANorth Miami.ConcurrentwithFOG,theyarefeatured inSoul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Powerat thede Young Museum;the exhibition originated atthe TateModern and traveled to CrystalBridgesMuseum of American Art, Brooklyn Museumof Art,The Broad, and will be going to theMuseum of Fine Arts Houston.The Jarrells have a forthcoming show May 16–July 3, 2020 at Jenkins Johnson's new gallery space and atrium attheMinnesota Street Projects, where they will be in conversation with a leading national curator and scholar and where Wadsworth will debutand sign his bookAFRICOBRA: Experimental Art Towards a School of Thought. The Jarrell’s are in many collections including the Brooklyn Museumof Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, High Museum of Art,Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia,National Museum of African AmericanHistory and Culture and Studio Museum in Harlem.Wadsworth and Jae have been married since 1967. They live and work in Cleveland, OH.*Five AFRICOBRA Founding Members:Jeff Donaldson, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu and Gerald Williams