The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) is organizing for the first time outside NYC an exhibition of almost 50 artworks crafted by awarded African-American writer and artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988). The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, will run Bearden’s, A Black Odyssey, until August 11.
Homer’s epic The Odyssey, where the Greek king Odysseus tries to return home after the Trojan war is over, acted like a source of inspiration for Bearden, who integrated his African-American heritage and culture into the Homeric work in an attempt to explain how every man is in search of his own way home. The exhibition includes collages and drawings depicting black people set in the Greek antiquity theme.
Curator of this new exhibition is Robert G. O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. According to SITES website, the latest publication of this prolific author, Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey, will be available for purchase at museum venues. An ambitious program of talks, panels, and performances that explore many of the themes raised by the exhibition is envisioned to accompany the exhibition at each location.
According to artdaily.com, Amon Carter director Andrew J. Walker noted: “Bearden’s reinterpretation of The Odyssey has a universal appeal that will perhaps allow us all to reflect on our own personal journeys. The artworks are beautiful and filled with vivid, saturated colors and geometric images that captivate the imagination. Because Bearden’s work is not in our collection, the exhibition offers an introduction of this important American artist to our visitors.”