Just Do It: Friends of Michael PlattJanuary 22, 2019
8/9/19 – 9/28/19
Opening Reception: 8/9/19 6-9:30pm
An exhibition of more than thirty artists curated to celebrate the life and influence of the late Michael Platt.
Born at Freedman’s Hospital in D.C. and educated in D.C. Public Schools, Platt knew that he wanted to be an artist since he was seven years old. Over the years, Platt earned degrees for fine art at the Columbus School of Art in Ohio and Howard University, where, through hard work and talent, he mastered drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking. His list of collectors included patrons such as Mary Swift and the late Peggy Cooper Cafritz, institutions that include the Smithsonian and the Corcoran; and fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. His most recent honor, shared with Beane, was presenting their six collaborative artist books at the Library of Congress Rare Books and Special Collections in October 2018.
Platt loved to travel, and it inspired him to create work for solo shows and tours throughout the U.K. and in Paris, in partnership with art historian Eddie Chambers and Honfleur Gallery. Platt’s final body of work, the one he had just finished installing at the Katzen Arts Center before he died, is inspired by his Australian experiences; the culmination of a long-standing fascination with the continent, which he visited twice for art exhibitions.
But Platt wasn’t just a maker, he took pride in showing others how to make art. He taught at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College for more than 30 years and at Howard University for more than 10 years, where he introduced digital photography and non-toxic printmaking into the school’s Fine Art curriculum.
The story of Michael B. Platt’s life is longer than the 70 years he was physically on this earth; it contains the history of Jim Crow and of civil rights, to the point where we are at now. The thrust behind every technique the Platt used was the story of struggle, victory, and humanity; of blackness taking different forms in the world over, and the ability to characterize any person within that story with empathy and respect.
Just Do It, Curated by Carol Beane and Duane Gautier, opens August 9, 2019 and runs through September 28, 2019 in Honfleur Gallery 1241 Good Hope Road SE Washington DC 20020. The opening reception is free and open to the public.