Friday, November 9, 2012


I just received a copy of Heroes: The Art of Charles White for which I wrote a substantial introductory essay.  It was put out by Heritage Gallery and Landau Traveling Exhibitions to accompany a traveling show of the work of Charles White, selected from the Arthur Primas Collection.  This collection includes more than 500 works by African American artists and artists of the Diaspora, and Charles White's work is represented by a significant number of important drawings and paintings.

Charles White --I knew him personally as "Charlie" in his days at Otis Art Institute, back in the 1970s--is one of the leading African American artists of the 20th century, along with such luminaries as Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden.  His work celebrated black achievement and the black experience, documenting the period from 1930s social realism and following the development of African American culture from the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  The "Heroes" of the title are those many who struggled against and triumphed over an entire history of racial discrimination, from political and cultural leaders to artists, musicians, and the "folk" whom Charlie loved.

The book is richly illustrated and provides a useful documentation of Charles White's life and work.  The exhibition itself is currently on view at North Carolina Central Art Museum in Durham.

For more information on the book and the exhibition, and to read the text I contributed, please go to the Landau Travelling Exhibitions website.

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