Art: Romare Bearden: Visual Jazz from a Sharp Eye

A retrospective in Harlem illuminates the keen human observations of collagist Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden (1912-88) was one of the finest collagists of the 20th century and the most distinguished black visual artist America has so far produced: the only one, perhaps, who rivaled in his own time and field the achievements of Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin, Alvin Ailey and Arthur Mitchell, Earl Hines and Duke Ellington in theirs. His retrospective at the Studio Museum in Harlem is an exhilarating show marred by a sloppy catalog. This will not matter too much to the audience the exhibition will acquire as it moves around the museums of America, ending in 1993 in Washington. The...

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