On September 2 2012, collage-artist Romare Bearden would have celebrated his 101st birthday, and many museums and organizations have set up honorary exhibitions throughout the year to honor the colláge artist that defined the character of Black American life during the 20th century.
The Studio Museum in Harlem organized an exhibition in tribute to Romare Bearden titled The Bearden Project. The Bearden Project brings together work by contemporary artists who have all been influenced by this twentieth-century master, best known for works such as The Block.
Within Art Education, using the collage technique and childhood themes of Romare Bearden has been extremely popular.
For example, at CCNY, students in Art 15500 Intro to Art Education experimented with colláge and childhood themes by creating a colláge that exemplifies a significant moment in their childhood. Content included Easter Sunday, a view from a plane, riding a bicycle for the first time, and riding the subway for the first time.
Once collages were complete, I facilitated a silent critique in which students wrote a comment on each other’s work in an anonymous matter. I felt that a silent critique was necessary because exploring a childhood memory can be extremely vulnerable and emotional for many students.
However, it was a great opportunity to reflect on the strength of Romare Bearden’s work in which he showcased his life to the world during the turbulent times of the 1960’s- 1970’s.
The Bearden Project at The Studio Museum in Harlem will be on display until October 21.
CCNY Adjunct Lecturer