IV

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

Romare Bearden

Urban Street Scene, early 1970s

Collage on paper

11.75" x 9.75"


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Urban Street Scene

© Romare Bearden Foundation
Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY


Romare Bearden made the conscious decision to move from abstraction to the figurative in an effort to more clearly articulate the black experience. With collage as his principal medium, he called on his memories of the rural South and his urban experiences to inform his epic pictorial on black life in America. His synthesis of the sights and sounds of black America has been called the "blues aesthetic," aptly comparing his images to the rhythm, pathos, and poetry of the blues. Urban Street Scene addresses the various forces that compete for control of the urban streets. The young black male, the policeman, and the black Jesus on the storefront church could have been found in any American city in the early 1970s, when issues of law enforcement were paramount in the black community.  A. L. C.

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