Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Romare Bearden "A Black Odyssey" Through March 9 at Carlos Museum at Emory

In 1977, Romare Bearden (1911-1988), one of the most powerful and original artists of the 20th century, created a series of collages and watercolors based on Homer’s epic poem, "The Odyssey". Rich in symbolism and allegorical content, Bearden’s Odyssey series created an artistic bridge between classical mythology and African American culture. The works conveyed a sense of timelessness and the universality of the human condition, but their brilliance was displayed for only two months in New York City before being scattered to private collections and public art museums. A new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service represents the first full-scale presentation of these works outside of New York City.

Curated by the esteemed scholar Robert G. O’Meally, this exhibition reunites the 1977 series in all its glory. It also expands the scope of the original exhibition with splendid watercolors and other relevant works from the artist’s Ĺ“uvre. Included is a rare grouping of mid-1940’s Bearden drawings based on the other Homer epic, the Iliad.

This exhibition simultaneously expands our view of the Bearden canon and his influence as an artist, while reinforcing Homer’s continuing relevance as a poet. It also proclaims that to be black in America—and indeed to be American in our new global village—is to participate in a culture that knows no boundaries. A Black Odyssey programs brochure: View/Downloa

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