The NEA at Its Best

When I think of Romare Bearden, I can actually reproduce in my mind colorful depictions of African American factory workers going about their laborious routines. I am less familiar with the artist’s abstract works, which are at the root of his vision. Now, in part through a $45,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Neuberger Museum of Art Director Dr. Tracy Fitzpatrick has put together a visual and scholarly examination of the artist’s abstract large- and small-scale watercolors, stain paintings and mixed media collages, some in storage since the 1950s. These works are seminal to the works for which the artist is best known. They will be on view at the Neuberger beginning September 10, 2017. This is the Neuberger at its best. This is also the NEA at its best – rewarding scholarship, bringing outstanding work to our community, revealing a little known aspect of a well-known artist’s legacy, recognizing African American heritage and, by the way, making these good works accessible to the American public by touring them nationally. These are some of our American artistic values – scholarship, community, creativity, education, exploration, legacy, diversity, heritage. These are the values we speak out for when we say #SavetheNEA.

Photo caption: Eastern Gate, 1961 by Romare Bearden. The Romare Bearden Foundation, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York Art © Romare Bearden Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA, NY. Photography by Steven Bates

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