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  • Writer's pictureKristin Lyman

Black History Month 2024 Day 17: Romare Bearden

My mind was blown one Saturday in February 2019 when I visited the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American Museum of History and Culture, one Saturday in February 2019. It is time to celebrate this Man, this Artist like now and this Man is Romare Bearden.

I am an art museum geek and have been to several here in the States and abroad. But how had I never heard of Romare Bearden, an American artist? Well, before we get pulled away in that direction, I'd like to focus on Romare Bearden, the artist himself. The sheer variety of medium that he very successfully utilized is the first observation that caught my eye.

Born in NC, he moved north with his family during The Great Migration. Migration CAN be a positive thing. (What we have now is not migration, but utter chaos.). Mr. Bearden grew up in NYC and Pittsburg. He graduated from NYU in 1935. When I see the mediums and styles produced by Mr. Bearden, my mind travels to Picasso or Dali. But the subjects of Mr. Bearden's works are the American Heart and Soul. His art that depicts "everyday" domestic life in the household draws the viewer in in a way that can't really be consciously understood. Tractor beam to what connects all of us. Dive in. It all sort of feels unfamiliar, but very, very welcoming.

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