Romare Bearden Essay

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While often critics and viewers alike are troubled by Romare Bearden’s wide range of works and career progression, due to the inability to categorize it as either “the social program of the realists or the disruptions of the avant-garde” , others praise his ability to convey narratives of identity and struggle that are more universal than abstract expression ever managed to be. This debate is central to Romare Bearden’s importance as an artist, as a champion of the African American community and an innovator within the art history world. While Romare Bearden initially exhibited his works with abstract expressionists such as Motherwell , over time he seemed to make a dramatic shift, rejecting the ability of abstract expression to invoke the culturally or…show more content…
Romare Bearden’s collage art aimed at connecting the African American experience, with the universal and age-old questions involved in the history of art, while embracing African American culture. This new expression of identity enabled Bearden to both establish and redefine his place within the African American community, but also to claim his rightful place in Art History, among the classical artists that he chose to evoke. Rather than redefining his experience as a black man, as uniquely different than the “American experience” Bearden instead called upon the universality of the human experience, which he believed, spanned times, cultures and races. While historically Harlem Renaissance, artists and thinkers aimed to define their experience in direct opposition and contrast to that of white America, Bearden’s work furthers the African American cause with more finesse, by creating a narrative that socially, politically and psychologically works to unite people, rather than to divide

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