Romare Bearden @ MoAD: A Podcast with Grace Stanislaus (VIDEO)

Max Eternity – This year marks the centennial anniversary of the birth of Romare Bearden, and currently on display in Downtown San Francisco at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), is an exhibition of 84 of Bearden’s prints, presented in a show entitled “From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden.”

MoAD says in its press release for the show:

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.

Speaking to the complexity of Bearden’s printmaking process, Grace Stanislaus, Executive Director of MoAD says “Bearden took one image… sometimes it was the same subject or theme of his collages, and he would transfer that into the print medium.  He would work it and rework it, moving parts, keeping some elements, taking some things off the surface, scraping the surface, painting on the surface…” in a way that resulted in his 2-D prints having a multi-layered, collage-like, 3-D appearance.

Stanislaus, who is a former curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, is also the former President and C.E.O of the Romare Bearden Foundation, and she refers Bearden as a 20th century Renaissance man–indicating that Bearden is notable in so many ways, for his printmaking and otherwise, because “he always experimented and innovated, and was creative beyond the boundaries of the medium.” Stanislaus says Bearden was, as well, very much a humanist who was known for his generous spirit.  When adding this to the fact that Bearden was indeed widely recognized as an expert in collage, a master printmaker, painter and a published writer, it’s no wonder Bearden is hailed as one of the most prolific and productive artist of the modernist era.

“From Process to Print” opened at MoAD on May 6th and continues there until July 3, 2011.  And in a recent,  5-part, podcast conversation at the museum, Stanislaus spoke about challenges and struggles of African-American artists, MoAD’s mission and the African Diaspora.  Stanislaus also talked about Bearden’s leadership role in the arts community, his instrumentation in the founding of the Cinque Gallery and the Studio Museum of Harlem, as well as a host of other interesting aspects of Bearden’s epic, six decade career.

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Clip1:  Grace Stanislaus talks about the mission statement of the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) giving a precise understanding of what the African Diaspora is.


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Clip 2:  In this clip, Stanislaus speaks about Romare Bearden as a humanist of generous spirit.  She shares details about Bearden’s personal story is embedded in all the objects seen in the exhibition.

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Clip 3:  Stanislaus speaks to Bearden’s interest in art history, while also being observant of the artists of his time.  She also talks about Bearden’s founding of the Cinque Gallery in New York–his overall commitment to institution building.

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Clip 4:  Music and printmaking is discussed in this clip, where Stanislaus speaks about Bearden’s mastery of mediums.

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Clip 5:  Stanislaus talks about Bearden’s enthusiastic support for younger artists.  She speaks, as well, about the focus of the Bearden Foundation.


Header Image Credit: The Fall of Troy, 1979 (from the Odysseus Series) Screenprint Edition 125. Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate. Art© Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, NY, NY

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