Outside In: Black Art Matters

Passion of Christ by Romare Bearden, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.

Passion of Christ by Romare Bearden, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.

A sculpture by renowned artist Augusta Savage from the Jacksonville area was removed from outside the Cummer Museum Gardens and placed inside the museum. A symbolic move that parallels the current emphasis on Black Art. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens has updated its exhibit collection to include other Black artists. Cummer’s move is part of a new trend.

For years after being ignored, major museums are trying to diversify their collections with American Black Art. It was over 30 years ago, that I penned the article “Forgotten Artists” for the newspaper the Grapevine in San Vito de Normandie in Italy. I recalled how Black artists were excluded from the cultural mainstream. There was no mention of any American Black artists in the college textbook Janson’s “History of Art” nor was the Harlem Renaissance mentioned which was a major art movement in the United States.

Black Art has often relegated to Black History month in February. A couple of years ago, I visited Art Basel Miami Beach and wrote an article entitled “African American Works on Paper” to pay tribute to Black artists. That same year the Lowe Museum featured the Harmon and Harriet Kelly collection of African American Art. The Black couple amassed a wonderful collection of Black Art when few were doing it.

The Rubell Family Collection in Miami brought Black Art to the forefront with the 30 Americans exhibit in 2009. In 2013 at Art Basel Miami Beach, Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Micheal Jackson was auctioned for $175.000. This year Kehinde Wiley received a Medal of Arts award from the State Department. For more information on Black Art visit these links:





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