Romare Bearden | National Civil Rights Museum


June 21, 2019 - January 6, 2020

State of Tennessee Gallery 
SPECIAL gallery admission $10 • with museum admission, add $5

Romare Bearden: Vision and Activism presents examples of Bearden’s influences as an artist of social conscience and action. Romare Bearden (1911–1988) recognized as one of the most important visual artists of the 20th century, countered racial stereotypes with images drawn from history, literature, and the free world of his imagination.  Bearden was active in artistic and social issues; he would later participate in the founding of the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Cinque Gallery. 

The exhibition traces Bearden’s evolution into a true master artist. It starts with with his editorial cartoons for university magazines, and later, national publications and newspapers. In the section called "Rewriting History" are examples where he takes on the past to engender pride as in "Black History," a maquette for a public mural. In others he engages current events as in the Mayor Lindsay piece for Time Magazine.  

Bearden Collage

The exhibition examines how he agitated for change through images and writing. Included are a diverse collection of original collage, watercolor, limited edition prints, reproductions, and rare archival material, including his magazine covers and editorial cartoons.  Drawn from the Romare Bearden Foundation’s collections, the exhibition features diverse works from his earliest political cartoons to rare archival material including magazine covers, and limited production prints. 

Exclusive to the National Civil Rights Museum are a selection of images from Li’l Dan The Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story, a book written and illustrated by the artist in 1970 but published posthumously in 2003.


Presented by the Romare Bearden Foundation.
Bearden Foundation Logo
With Support from
Korones Gift          Preserve Partners Logo

McDaniel Fund Logo

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