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Artist as Activist and Visionary

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden (1911–1988) was an artist of social conscience and action. Drawing on his own experiences, Bearden created narratives that reflect both the nostalgic rural North Carolina of his childhood and the vibrant urban life of places like Pittsburgh and Harlem. Bearden spent portions of his youth with his grandparents in Pittsburgh, graduating from Peabody High School in 1929. His 1984 mural Pittsburgh Recollections, installed at the Gateway Center T station, honors the city's history and its residents work ethic. His work layers themes from literature and religion with everyday rituals like family dinners to create visual stories that depict and celebrate African American subjects. Featuring a diverse collection of original collages, watercolors, limited edition prints, and archival materials, this exhibition examines how Bearden agitated for social change through the visual arts and print media.

Program Information

Romare Bearden: Artist as Activist and Visionary

Dates: April 30, 2022 - September 18, 2022
Location: The Frick Art Museum

The exhibition was organized by the Romare Bearden Foundation, New York, NY. Exhibition Tour Management by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

Above: Romare Bearden (1911–1988), Baptism, 1975. Screenprint, 39 x 51 in. Image courtesy of the Romare Bearden Foundation. 
Exhibitions landing page: Romare Bearden (1911–1988), Susannah in Harlem, 1981. Poster, 38 x 22 3/4 in. Image courtesy of the Romare Bearden Foundation.

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