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Laylah Ali's Untitled (from the Greenhead series) (1999), gouache on paper, 10 by 11 1/4 inches

A few months ago, I wondered what Seattle Art Museum planned to do with its gallery devoted to artists of African descent. There was talk of residencies? Group shows?

The new group show, Black Art, is not only the first broadly themed effort in the small gallery, it's also a self-reflexive exhibition about the function of the gallery itself. It asks, how useful is the term "black art"? What if blackness were looked at as broadly as possible?

The show is a harvesting of SAM's permanent collection for "black art," plus a handful of loans. The results are sometimes surprising.

Listen to Jackson-Dumont tell it.

Here are more of the images in the show:

Randy Hayes's Victor/Victim (1982), pastel on paper, 83 1/4 by 50 7/8 inches

Halford Lembke's Crouching Negress (1932), wood, 6 3/8 by 3 1/16 by 2 7/8 inches

Max Beckmann's Jahrmarkt (Annual Fair): Der Neger (The Negro) (1921), drypoint, 29 by 26 cm

Mark Tobey's Broadway Girl, Head (1957), sumi ink on paper, 23 1/2 by 15 1/2 inches