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Angela Davis–Seize The Time

Opens October 7, 2022. On view through June 11, 2023 | Great Hall

Angela Davis — Seize the Time, examines the image, influence, and activism of the Oakland-based icon. Traveling to the West Coast for the first time after its debut at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, Seize the Time offers a deeper look into the life of Angela Davis through the lens of race, gender, economics, and policy.

With a focus on her arrest, incarceration, trial, and the national and international campaigns to free her, Seize the Time will highlight Davis’s legacy as well as her ongoing role as an important contemporary figure for artists and activists. The exhibition will feature a range of powerful material, including contemporary and historical artworks, media, literature, sketches, rare manuscripts of Davis’s philosophical and activist writings, and a dedicated archive on Angela Davis drawn from the Lisbet Tellefsen collection.

Using the Angela Davis archive as both the heart of the exhibition and a source, visitors are given the opportunity to investigate how we remember, preserve, and activate radical Black history, while also allowing us to re-imagine the construction of the image of Davis as an icon of American Black radical resistance, female empowerment, and a threat to the white patriarchal status quo.


“The Oakland Museum of California strikes again with another compelling exhibit that’s as timely and poignant as it is historical. Tapping the Angela Davis Archive, OMCA holds a mirror up to the memory and preservation of radical Black history but also portrays Davis not just as an icon of the resistance and female empowerment of yore but as part of a broader narrative that is ongoing today.”


The exhibit’s four primary sections delve into Davis’s decades-long work — that continues to this day — in advocating for civil rights, police and incarceration reform, and economic policies that both represent and assist the most vulnerable among us.



Angela Davis timeline

Angela Davis — Seize the Time is organized by the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund. Additional support is provided by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, Voorhees Family Endowment, Estate of Regina Heldrich, and donors to the Zimmerli’s Major Exhibitions Fund: James and Kathrin Bergin, Alvin and Joyce Glasgold, and Sundaa and Randy Jones.

Support for the Oakland Museum of California presentation of this exhibition is provided by Nia Impact Capital.

*Header image: Stephen Shames, November 12, 1969—Oakland, California, USA: Angela Davis speaks in DeFremery Park at a Free Huey rally, 1969, printed 2020. Gelatin silver print. ©2020, Stephen Shames / Polaris Images