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Three Artists Who Never Stopped Exploring

“Romare Bearden Abstraction” at the Frye Art Museum, runs June 25–September 18, 2022.

Romare Bearden. “River Mist,” ca. 1962. Oil on unprimed linen, and oil, casein, and colored pencil on canvas, cut, torn, and mounted on painted board.

The exhibition was a revelation! Romare Bearden has long been famous for his collages with poignant representations of Black life in the South. He began those collages in 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights movement following participation in the Spiral Group. After the 1963 March on Washington, Bearden and his friends began Spiral in his studio in order to discuss the role of representation of the African American experience in art at a time that abstraction dominated mainstream art. As a result, Bearden turned to figurative collage.