Romare Bearden (1911–1988) was an artist of social conscience and action. Drawing on his own experiences, Bearden created narratives that reflect both the nostalgic rural North Carolina of his childhood and the vibrant urban life of places like Pittsburgh and Harlem. Bearden spent portions of his youth with his grandparents in Pittsburgh, graduating from Peabody High School in 1929. His 1984 mural Pittsburgh Recollections, installed at the Gateway T station, honors the city's history and its residents' work ethic. His work layers themes from literature and religion with everyday rituals like family dinners to create visual stories that depict and celebrate African American subjects. Featuring a diverse collection of original collages, watercolors, limited edition prints, and archival materials, this exhibition examines how Bearden agitated for social change through the visual arts and print media.
The exhibition was organized by the Romare Bearden Foundation, New York, NY. The exhibition will travel to the Brigham Young University Museum of Art in Provo, UT, on view from October 15, 2022 - January 15, 2023, and to Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, NY, on view from February 19 - May 31, 2023.