Black heritage month is shared through abstract art

As most know by now, February is Black History Month. After countless generations of heritage, one month per year is dedicated to celebration and recognition. But what about the other eleven months? Although Black History

As most know by now, February is Black History Month.

After countless generations of heritage, one month per year is dedicated to celebration and recognition. But what about the other eleven months?

Although Black History Month may only last through February, the Philadelphia
community can extend their celebration of African American heritage.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is presenting “Layers of Meaning: Collage and Abstraction in the late 20th Century–Work by African American Artists from the Pennsylvania Academy and Private Collections.”

The exhibit, which will run through late April, will display approximately 30 paintings, works on paper and various collages.

“Layers of Meaning” includes pieces by prominent African American artists examining the development of abstracted art from the 1950s to the present.

Historically, African American artists used abstraction as an outlet to reflect on their cultural surroundings.

While allowing them to shroud their identity, they were able to make their work available for public consumption.

The exhibit will present abstraction pieces as early as Humbert Howard’s “Yellow Cup” (1949-50), which emulates still-lifes by C├ęzanne.

Also included are Romare Bearden’s “The Piano Lesson (Homage to Mary Lou)” (1983) and Moe Brooker’s “Are There Supposed to Be’s” (1984), both of which represent the symposium of beats and rhythms in jazz music.

Also to be shown in the “Layers of Meaning” exhibit will be the works of Alma Thomas, the first black woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of Art.

Displayed will be “Red Abstraction #2,” her effort to “concentrate on beauty and happiness in painting rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.”

Other highlighted exhibits will include the colorful, symbolic art of Bob Thompson and pieces by Beverly Buchanan reminiscent of her youth.

As well as presenting “Layers of Meaning,” PAFA will also hold various Art-at-Lunch lectures examining African American artists.

Each lecture will be held at noon in the Hamilton Auditorium at PAFA.

“Layers of Meaning” runs through April 20. PAFA is located at 118 N. Broad St.
For more information, call 215.972.7600 or visit www.pafa.org.

Casey Kockler can be reached at cnicole@temple.edu.


Art-at-Lunch
dates and topics include:

March 12:
“The Art of Social Responsibility,”
presented by sculptor and installation artist Lonnie Graham.

March 19: “Emergence: African American Women Artists in the Twentieth Century,” presented by Professor Alicia Faxon.

April 16:
“Cowboys to Bridges: The Transformation from Photo Journalist to Fine Artist,”
presented by photographer Ron Tarver.

April 23:
“Artist Talk: Doors and Passageways of Return,”
presented by Muhsana Ali.

April 30:
Artist Talk with Moe Brooker,
whose work is included in the “Layers of Meaning” exhibit.

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