September 2, 2011, marked the centennial of the birth of Romare Bearden, and the beginning of a year of international celebration of this significant and singular artist. In tribute to Bearden, who was deeply involved with the founding of The Studio Museum in Harlem, and whose work remains at the core of our collection, the Studio Museum is inviting one hundred artists to create new works of art inspired, influenced, or informed by the life, work, and legacy of one of the most important artists of the 20th Century. The Museum will share these works with the public through The Bearden Project, a dynamic exhibition initiative that will grow and change throughout the centennial year.
The Bearden Project will open to the public on November 10, 2011, but will evolve over the subsequent year as new work arrives at the Museum and works are rearranged in dialogue with Bearden’s work, each other, and concurrent exhibitions. In addition to the exhibition, the Museum will offer multiple ways for the public to engage with the art and artists participating in The Bearden Project. Building on its history of robust public programs, the Museum will celebrate The Bearden Project with the launch of a new and even more comprehensive event calendar featuring rare opportunities to experience performances, tours, artists’ talks and more with leading contemporary artists, noted scholars, and Museum curators Thelma Golden, Lauren Haynes, Naima Keith and Thomas J. Lax.
Additionally, in partnership with emerging New York design firm OCD, the Museum will create and ever-changing, interactive exhibition site spotlighting a rotating roster of participating artists as well as information about and a map of tri-state area museums displaying Bearden works in celebration of the centennial. The Studio Museum and OCD will also create a comprehensive publication reproducing each work in the project along with personal and intimate reflections from participants, a new essay by exhibition organizer and Studio Museum Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes and a foreword by director Thelma Golden.