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NOVEMBER 3

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In the art world, Faith Ringgold is known for her evocative tankas (paintings bordered by fabric) and quilts, which she popularized in her children’s book Tar Beach. In portraits of her family members and prominent African-Americans, she’s offered eloquent commentary on racism and women’s-art issues. In her memoir, We Flew Over the Bridge, the 65-year-old, Harlem-born artist tells her life story and restates the opinions that she’s already conveyed through paint and cloth. Print, however, is not Ringgold’s ideal medium. Her writing voice is practical and concise—not surprising, considering that she juggles an art career, travel, and family—but it’s also rather flat. Ringgold downplays conflict between herself and her two daughters, her late ex-husband (whose picture never appears in the otherwise well-illustrated book), and art-world contacts; she’s more inclined to go after the system, and rightly (though bloodlessly) criticizes the Guggenheim Museum for refusing to put Tar Beach on permanent exhibition, despite public demand to see the work. Rarely does Ringgold deviate from her unemotional delivery—except in chapters about her mother, whose skill with fabrics was an inspiration. Ringgold reads from Bridge at 6 p.m. at Vertigo Books, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. (Nathalie op de Beeck)