Celebrate Black History Month at Macy’s

This post was written by Miranda Humphrey one of Slow Southern Style’s interns. You’ll get a chance to meet her in the upcoming weeks, be on the look out for her bio soon.

February is Black History Month, and Macy’s is celebrating the 100th birthday of noted artist Romare Bearden with a very special art exhibition. New Orleans was the lucky city to preview the collection before anyone else. Read on to get your own sneak peek and check out the Slow Southern Style Facebook page for more pictures. Click here to see the exhibit at a Macy’s near you.

Going into the Macy’s Black History Month Event, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was not  familiar with Romare Bearden, his foundation, or how it all tied into a major retail company. What I found on the second floor of the women’s department at Lakeside Mall in Metairie, LA was quite metaphoric for me and a unique example of art without limitation.

The event is actually a tour throughout select Macy’s in the USA who, for years have honored prominent African Americans during the month of February. The Romare Bearden Foundation, is the oldest nonprofit created by an African American visual artist and is dedicated to preserving and promoting Bearden, especially to new generations of artists. Both the foundation and the retailer have come together this year to celebrate the hundredth birthday of Romare Bearden (1911-1988) and to honor his talent and gift to the world.
Bearden was an artist, a writer, and a musician. He’s been hailed as a visionary, a scholar, an American master. He is best known for his collages which have given him comparison to Pablo Picasso. I immediately connected with Romare Bearden because of his appreciation and expression of art in many forms, but I truly found inspiration and depth in the medium of collage. I too, appreciate all aesthetics, however I consider collages to be my talent. Most people might think of collage art as scrapbooking or something you make with dry macaroni in summer camp. When in fact, almost all fashion, cinema, and so many other projects start as a collage. What draws me towards taking raw materials and rethinking them to evoke an idea, is that it seems to be a style that creates movement, dimension, and symbolism as abstractly as possible.
One of the featured artists and who is now one of my favorites is Alabama-born, Atlanta-based, Charly Palmer; who credits Basquiat and Bearden as muses for his work. I was most drawn to his painting, “Innocence; 2010” An arrangement of true talent acrylic paintstrokes and precise object applique.
The lace detail on the sundress was like looking at a tangible textile and the lattice/damask work carried the beauty and patience of henna and chantilly throughout. All together it was such a lifelike canvas and the feminity of it was well thought and conveyed.
Until attending this highly enjoyable event that included live jazz playing Bearden’s music, great wine, delicious hors d’oeuvors, I thought of collaging as a cathartic hobby. But it truly is one of the most accessible artforms for all people, of all levels of skill and this free celebration is successfully spreading that message.
pictures by Miranda Humphrey
“Innocence-Charly Palmer” courtesy of The Stella Jones Gallery, New Orleans , LA

Slow Southern Style was compensated for this post.
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3 Replies to “Celebrate Black History Month at Macy’s”

  1. Pictured above far right:
    Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd, Ph.D.
    Xavier University
    Assistant Professor and Curator of University Art Collections Department of Arts

  2. What a wonderful article. I almost feel like I was at the exhibit. I loved the writer’s perspective on the event. She described the works of Palmer, Basquiat, and Bearden so well. And I am quite sure that Ms. Humphrey’s work would hang quite well next to any of the artist she described. And she’s only an intern! I look forward to seeing her future writings!!

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