Graphic Works by Romare Bearden at the Museum of the African Diaspora

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artwork: Romare Bearden - "The Family", 1975 - Etching and Aquatint, Edition of 25. - Courtesy of Alex Rosenberg, NY. On view in the travelling exhibition "From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden" at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco until July 3rd.


San Francisco.- Until July 3rd, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco is hosting “From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden”. “From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden” is a traveling exhibition that is part of a national centennial celebration of Bearden, an American artist of African American heritage who is widely acknowledged as one of the most talented and original visual artists of the twentieth century. The exhibition, organized by the Romare Bearden Foundation, includes 84 lithographs, etchings, collagraphs, collagraph plates, screenprints, drypoints, monotypes, and engravings produced over three decades by Bearden.

artwork: Romare Bearden - "Falling Star" 1980 - Lithograph. - © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to examine Bearden’s print-making process and to understand how key themes and motifs like trains, family life, rituals, rural and urban scenes, jazz, and mythology extended his artistic imagination beyond collages, of which he is an acknowledged master, into the graphic medium. Focusing on the later period of his career, “From Process to Print” explores Bearden’s graphic oeuvre from the 1960s though the early 1980s. Included are prints based on collages like the “Odysseus Series” and “Piano Lesson” that he reworked in several media through changes in technique, scale, and color. Also included are two important photoengraving series, “The Train” and “The Family”, and the extraordinary limited edition “12 Trains.”

Romare Bearden (1911-1988), an American artist of African-American heritage, was honored during his lifetime and posthumously with numerous prestigious awards, publications, and exhibitions. Along with representation in important public and private collections, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts and honored with a groundbreaking retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. A master collagist, Bearden is celebrated today as a preeminent, highly prolific artist of exceptional and multifaceted talents and interests. He was a jazz aficionado, an author of scholarly books, a song writer/lyricist, as well as an arts activist and humanist. Bearden incorporated a rich montage of influences from American, African, Asian, and European art and culture and took inspiration from memories and experiences of the rural South, the urban North, and the Caribbean.

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is a San Francisco based nonprofit organization that was conceived as a cornerstone of the economic and cultural revitalization of downtown San Francisco. Since it opened in December 2005 MoAD has become an anchor with its neighbors, the San Francisco MoMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Zeum, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in making this dynamic cultural corridor a premier cultural destination. As a dynamic, world class institution, MoAD brings people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds together so they can enjoy, study and appreciate, through enriching exhibitions, public and educational programs, the culture, history and art of people of African descent within the United States and throughout the world. MoAD is uniquely positioned as one of the only Museums in the world focused exclusively on African Diaspora culture and on presenting the rich cultural products of the people of Africa and of African descendant cultures across the globe.

artwork: Romare Bearden - "Home to Ithaca (from Odysseus Series)", 1979 - Screenprint. © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY. - On view at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco until July 3rd.

MoAD developed as part of a public/private partnership led by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office and the developers of the St. Regis Museum Tower. In 1999 under the mandate from the City of San Francisco to include an African American cultural presence in the last vacant parcel of Yerba Buena Gardens, Mayor Willie L. Brown appointed a steering committee to begin a process of determining the mission and scope of a cultural facility within the complex. Cultural management, architectural, and design consultants were contracted by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency to work with members of the steering committee to formulate the facility design and program elements of a new museum. The African American Cultural Institute grew out of the research and development process that began in 2002 and included participation by local and nationally known scholars and community leaders. The new museum was renamed Museum of the African Diaspora to reflect a broadened scope and mission, was incorporated in 2002 as a 501 c 3 nonprofit, and opened in 2005 in an architecturally stunning space that was designed by the nationally-renowned firm, the Freelon Group within the footprint of the St. Regis Museum Tower. Visit the museum’s website at … http://www.moadsf.org