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THE BEARDEN PROJECT: Homage

Exhibition Dates: November 10, 2011 – 2012
Location: Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street New York, NY 10027-4498

Words: Marjua Estevez
Images: Courtesy of The Studio Museum in Harlem

This past September 2nd marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of prolific renaissance man and lover of the arts, Romare Bearden. Recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the 20th century, Bearden maintained an incomparable career as an artist, creative mentor and dabbler of many mediums, but who eventually settled as a master craftsman of collage. Bearden effortlessly documented the nuances and rhythms of daily life, the to-and-fro migration of Black folk, the rites of passage through musical forms all while embracing and nurturing the talent of those artists in the generations that followed his. Much more than an artist, Bearden was a humanist, an activist and a true griot of the African-American experience. (It’s comes as no surprise why then for of his original works now appear on US Postage Forever® stamps.)

In homage to Bearden, who was also deeply rooted in founding the Studio Museum in Harlem, and whose art prevails as the cornerstone of their collection, the Studio Museum has invited 100 artists to create contemporary works of art inspired by Bearden’s timeless works. Entitled The Bearden Project, the group show will include many notable artists that Bearden would approve, including:

Wangechi Mutu
Leonardo Drew
Sandford Biggers
Julie Mehretu
Derrick Adams
Njideka Akunyili
Edgar Arceneaux
Mark Bradford
Leonardo Drew
David Driskell
Charles Gaines
Todd Gray
Lyle Ashton Harris
Wayne Hodge
Rashid Johnson
Vincent Johnson
Simone Leigh
Glenn Ligon
Kerry James Marshall
Matriarch (Maren and Ava Hassinger)
Dave McKenzie
Julie Mehretu
Wardell Milan
Nicole Miller
Meleko Mokgosi
Dominique Moody
Kori Newkirk
John Outterbridge
Kamau Amu Patton
William Pope.L
Robert Pruitt
Jack Whitten
Saya Woolfalk
Brenna Youngblood
Simone Leigh
Glenn Ligon
Nzuji De Magãlhaes
Rodney McMillian

The Bearden Project will publicly open November 10, 2011 and will advance over the succeeding year as new work arrives at the museum. The Bearden project is being launched as a more comprehensive event promoting rare opportunities to experience tours, artists’ dialogue and performances with paramount artists, principal scholars and museum curators Thelma Golden, Lauren Haynes, Naima Keith and Thomas J. Lax.

What’s more, The Studio Museum is partnering with emerging New York design firm, OCD, to create a comprehensive publication replicating each work in the project, along with personal and intimate reflections from participants; a new endeavor thought of and being done by exhibition organizer and museum curator Lauren Haynes.

For more information, visit The Studio Museum in Harlem’s site, here

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