Romare Bearden’s Collection Essay

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Featured and organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Romare Bearden’s collection is one that appreciates and depicts life for what it really is. Bearden did not like abstract expressionism. Instead, he made many collages depicting life with different perspectives, allowing the viewer to see reality, but also try to figure out the true meaning that Bearden meant to portray in the collage that was not directly seen by just looking at the picture. These collages were made by “Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite” (MET Museum). Bearden liked telling narratives within these collages involving Harlem life. Whether it was on the streets, inside …show more content…
He took his imagery from both the everyday rituals of African American rural life in the south and urban life in the north, melding those American experiences with his personal experiences and with the themes of classical literature, religion, myth, music and daily human ritual” (Ruth Fine).
The exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featured one of Bearden’s best works called The Block. It is part of a celebration of Bearden’s birth. According to the Museum, “The Block, an eighteen-foot-long collage, celebrates the Harlem neighborhood in New York City that nurtured and inspired so much of the artist's life and work. Bearden's elaborate and colorful cut-paper collages elevated this genre to a major art form through its unusual materials, expressionist color, abstracted forms, flattened shapes and spaces, and shifts in perspective and scale—all the while maintaining focus on the human narrative being told within a single city block” (Met Museum). The block depicts Lenox Avenue between 132nd and 113rd street, in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. The placement or arrangement of the visual elements in this collage is structured by what we usually see on a normal city block. This includes apartments, store fronts, and groups of people gathering. Bearden also includes a liquor store, a funeral parlor, a church, and a barbershop. You can see how people live and where they…