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Romare Bearden, The Block, 1971, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Romare Bearden, The Block, 1971, Metropolitan Museum of Art


Aug. 24, 2011

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To celebrate the centennial of artist and Studio Museum of Harlem cofounder Romare Bearden, who was born on Sept. 2, 1911, the Metropolitan Museum of Art presents the artist’s famous six-panel collage The Block, 1971, Aug. 30, 2011-Jan. 2, 2012. The colorful narrative depicts the churches, shops, teenagers and homeless people that comprised the bustling Lenox Ave. between 132nd and 133rd streets of his adopted home of Harlem. Bearden watched the street from his friend’s apartment and recorded his observations, in part, by cutting out “look-ins” that record the happenings taking place on the other sides of his neighbors’ windows and doors.

The Met exhibition is part of a larger nationwide tribute to the artist. The New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at West 135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard salutes Bearden with the exhibition, “Romare Bearden: The Soul of Blackness,” which includes his wool tapestry Spring Festival, 1975, and a selection of prints, paintings, etchings and collages that the center has acquired over the last thirty years. Elsewhere, the August Wilson Center, in Pittsburgh, Penn., displays 75 Bearden prints and a companion show of black-and-white photographs of Bearden by his friend Frank Stewart, July 15-Sept. 12, 2011. And in Bearden’s native North Carolina, the Mint Museum shows 70 Bearden works that deal with the subject of the south, Sept. 2, 2011-Jan. 8, 2012.

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