New York


The Studio Museum in Harlem

The current show of black artists’ work at the Studio Museum in Harlem is so diverse that it is impossible to discuss in terms of visual cohesion. The show, which fills both galleries in the Museum, includes every kind of imagery—works patterned on African themes and techniques, familiar experiments in various styles of 20th-century American and European art and explicit propaganda. Few works stand alone as products of strongly developed artistic sensibilities.

What the exhibition does reveal are some of the many ways black artists are struggling to define their identities both as artists and as members of a black community. Some have chosen to pursue a look that relates strictly to the contemporary “mainstream” art context, a context still defined primarily by white artists and critics. Some have attempted to make their blackness explicit by choosing either realistic subject matter that

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