The American and Modern and Contemporary art departments share a solid and diverse collection of works by African American artists, whose works span multiple styles and movements. Several of these artists are represented by multiple pieces (Willie Cole, Glenn Ligon, Lonnie Holley, Kerry James Marshall). The collection includes excellent examples of work by master painters Robert S. Duncanson and Henry Ossawa Tanner; the photographer Gordon Parks; Modern artists Bob Thompson, Jacob Lawrence, Benny Andrews, and Romare Bearden; and contemporary artists such as Emma Amos, Lorna Simpson, Chakaia Booker, Radcliffe Bailey, Carrie Mae Weems, Jeff Donaldson, Jack Whitten, Odili Donald Odita, Nick Cave and Hank Willis Thomas. The Museum has sterling examples of “self-taught” art. Many of the genre’s key figures are black Alabamians, among them, Bill Traylor, Mose Tolliver, Lonnie Holley, Charlie Lucas and Thornton Dial.
The Bohorfoush Gallery, located off of the main lobby, is also dedicated to African-American art, and features rotating exhibitions from the Museum’s permanent collection, loans from private and public collections, and traveling exhibitions.