trenton

“Dream Singers, Story Tellers”

New Jersey State Museum

Organized by Allison Weld of the New Jersey State Museum and Sadao Serikawa of the Fukui Fine Arts Museum in Japan, this exhibition had already been seen in three Japanese museums before it opened in Trenton. “Dream Singers, Story Tellers: An African-American Presence” eschewed inherited hard-and-fast categories in favor of seven somewhat vaguer headings, such as “The Suggested Image” and “The Constructed Image.” From Norman Lewis to Joe Overstreet, the Harlem Renaissance–derived tradition of African-American abstract painting (which has historically had a primarily black audience) is intermingled with the tradition of so-called self-taught or outsider artists such as Bill Traylor and Bessie Harvey (whose audience has been mostly in the rural south and mostly black); the more recent wave of African-American conceptualism represented by Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson, and others (whose work

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