Latest update 28.08.2019 Category: African-American Studies

Racism and Religion: African American Life in the Art of Romare Bearden essay

National Gallery of Art Completely on

The visual narratives and abstractions of this preeminent African American artist explore the places where he lived and worked: the rural South, Pittsburgh, Harlem, and the Caribbean. Bearden's central themes—religion, jazz and blues, history, literature, and the realities of black life—endured throughout his remarkable career in watercolors, oils, and especially collages and photomontages from the 1940s through the 1980s.

The Art of Romare Bearden Completely on

Bearden took snippets of Harlem life and shot them through with vivid images of the American South. His family moved from Mecklenburg, N.C., in 1914 when he was a toddler, and he grew up in the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. Bearden's mother was a dashing figure, a reporter for a leading black newspaper. Family friends included luminaries such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois and famous musicians who helped ignite Bearden's passion for jazz. One of Bearden's first patrons would Duke Ellington. Much later, he designed a record cover for Wynton Marsalis.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond Completely on

All 100 artworks in the exhibition are drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s rich collection of African American art. More than half of the featured works, including paintings by Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, and Loïs Mailou Jones, and photographs by Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks, Roland Freeman, and Marilyn Nance, are being exhibited by the museum for the first time, and ten works are recent acquisitions. The exhibition includes fifty-four photographs, which are incorporated into the display while also organizing the exhibition thematically. Individual object labels connect the artists and their works with the artistic, social, and contextual factors that shaped their creation. The exhibition is organized by Virginia Mecklenburg, chief curator.