Explore the rich history and revival of Black Cinema at the Detroit Institute of Arts, from 1898 to 1971. Discover hidden gems and cultural heritage.

February 4 – June 23, 2024

Free with general admission

*General museum admission is FREE for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 honors the legacy of African American filmmakers and actors from the dawn of cinema, through the golden age, and into the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Inspired by and named after an independent 1923 all-Black-cast movie, Regeneration seeks to revive lost or forgotten films, filmmakers, and performers for a contemporary audience.

Regeneration includes historical photographs, costumes, props, posters, and interactive elements specifically designed for this exhibition and juxtaposed with significant contemporary artworks by artists including Glenn Ligon, Gary Simmons, and Kara Walker. Objects and ephemera, newsreels and home movies, excerpts from narrative films and documentaries, and a selection of fully restored, rarely seen films amplify African American contributions to defining cinema in the United States.

Regeneration highlights the agency many Black artists asserted in their respective crafts despite challenges of systemic racism, revealing their tenacity, immense talent, and unwavering commitment to creative expression.

The Nicholas Brothers in a scene from Stormy Weather (1943), from left, Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas. Photographic print, gelatin silver. Courtesy Margaret Herrick Library. ©Twentieth Century Fox.

Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 is organized by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

At the Detroit Institute of Arts, lead support is generously provided by The Gilbert Family Foundation. Major support is provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Additional support is provided by the DTE Foundation and Amazon.

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