Press Release


MOCAD’s Summer Season highlights the cultural legacy of Gallery 7, a groundbreaking art venue dedicated to promoting Black artists.
MAY 10, 2024

From left to right: Artists Charles McGee, Harold Neal, James D. King, and James Lee, portrayed at At Detroit News Magazine, November 16th, 1969.

(Detroit, Michigan – May 10, 2024) – Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) proudly presents a group exhibition showcasing the cultural legacy of Gallery 7, on view from June 28 to September 8, 2024. 

In 1969, McGee was invited by the artist-centered organization, Detroit Artists Market to curate an exhibition that uplifted the visibility of Black artists in Detroit that previously had limited representation. Titled Seven Black Artists, the exhibition featured works by James Dudley Strickland, Lester Johnson, James King Jr., Robert Murray, James Lee, Harold Neal, Robert J. Stull, and McGee himself. Following the enthusiastic response to the exhibition, McGee started Gallery 7, one of the first art venues promoting all Black Artists, and championed Black abstract artists. From 1969 to 1979, the gallery gave voice to rich conversations about the role of figurative and abstraction in expressing the systemic violence against Black communities. 

Kinship: The Legacy of Gallery 7 explores the context when essential art objects were produced in Detroit, changing the artistic landscape of the city. The abstract expressionism and the concrete shapes presented at this venue contrasted with the social realism promoted by the Black Art Movements, which had an important chapter in Detroit. Underrepresented to this day, Gallery 7 contributed to the cultural agency of Black artists. This exhibition is the first approach to a broader conversation and research about the impact of Gallery 7 on the local and national artistic community. 

Kinship: The Legacy of Gallery 7 features works by Lester Johnson, Gilda Snowden, Allie McGhee, Charles McGee, Harold Neal, Robert Stull, Elizabeth Youngblood, and Naomi Dickerson. The works engage with abstraction and precede, align, and succeed Gallery 7’s legacy.

Join us on Friday, June 28, to celebrate our Summer 2024 Exhibitions. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. 

To commemorate Charles McGee’s impact on the art world, MOCAD is pleased to collaborate with Library Street Collective to present a sister exhibition at the Shepherd titled McGee: Time is Now. A groundbreaking artist, McGee’s career spans six decades of artistic exploration in painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Known for his iconic approach to visual storytelling through a semi-abstract style, McGee spent his lifetime building a rigorous practice that amplifies abstraction as a movement that permeates across generations. Time is Now will be on view from May 18 to July 20, 2024, at the Shepard. 


The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) presents exhibitions and programs that explore the best of contemporary art, connecting Detroit and the global art world. MOCAD focuses on art as a means to nurture social change and human understanding, reflecting our community. We encourage innovative experimentation by artists, musicians, makers, cultural producers, and scholars to enrich all who participate and to educate visitors of all ages in the power of art. Whether from Detroit or worldwide, we welcome creative voices who can guide us to an equitable and inclusive future. We believe that art can change us, and it’s our responsibility to hold a space where challenge, acceptance, hope, and beauty can coincide.

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