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Tuesday, 31 December 2013 16:53

Atlanta Museum Presents Romare Bearden Exhibit

The Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University is currently hosting the exhibition ‘Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey.’ Romare Bearden, one of the most important figures in 20th century art, created a series of collages and watercolors based on Homer’s epic poem, ‘The Odyssey’ during the late 1970s. Shortly after its completion, the series was broken up and scattered amongst private collections and public art museums. ‘A Black Odyssey’ presents the complete series thanks to the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, which assembled the show in cooperation with the Romare Bearden Foundation and Estate and DC Moore Gallery.

Bearden, who moved to New York City from North Carolina as a child, was part of the Great Migration of African Americans from the tumultuous South to greater opportunity in the North. Throughout his career, Bearden explored themes such as home, classical subjects, and belonging, all of which are touched upon in his Odyssey series.

‘Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey’ will be on view at the Michael C. Carlos Museum through March 9, 2014.


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Romare Bearden: The Paper Truth opens October 24 at the 92nd Street Y’s Milton J. Weill Art Gallery in Tribeca. Featuring 44 works on paper by Romare Bearden who is best known for his expressive depictions of African-American life, the exhibition includes watercolors, collages, and mixed media pieces.

The Paper Truth wouldn’t be possible without Russell Goings, a longtime friend of Bearden. The two met in the late 1960s when Goings was the chairman of the Studio Museum in Harlem and Bearden was a member of the institution’s board. The two struck up a friendship that resulted in Goings’ impressive collection of hundreds of Bearden’s works, some that he bought from Bearden and some he received as gifts from the artist.

The exhibition includes a self-portrait that Bearden made just days before his death in 1988 at age 75. Drawn on a page from a book of Jewish mysticism, the works has never been shown publicly. Two series, The Odyssey and The Historical Figures are also part of exhibition. Bearden made several versions of The Odyssey but the 22-piece series being shown has not been displayed in its entirety in New York in over thirty years. The Historical Figures series, a small collection of portraits of people of all races who helped to shape African-American history, has never been exhibited in New York.

The exhibition, which is on loan from the collection of Russell Goings and Evelyn Boulware (Goings’ longtime companion), will be on view through December 9.

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