Amon Carter Museum of American Art opens Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey

Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey, an exhibition of nearly 50 artworks by Romare Bearden (1911–1988), one of the most powerful and original artists of the 20th century on view through August 11, 2013.

Romare Bearden, Home to Ithaca, 1977, Collage, Courtesy Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Gift of the estate of Eileen Paradis Barber (Class of 1929)

Romare Bearden, Home to Ithaca, 1977, Collage, Courtesy Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Gift of the estate of Eileen Paradis Barber (Class of 1929)


The collages, watercolors and prints in the exhibition are based on Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey,” the ancient story of the Greek hero Odysseus’s journey home to Ithaca after fighting in the Trojan War. The exhibition is the first full-scale presentation of these works outside of New York City and is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

In the Black Odyssey series, Bearden establishes an artistic bridge between Homer’s poem—arguably the definitive work of classical mythology—and African-American culture by depicting Homeric characters as black players on the timeless stage of antiquity. As Bearden once said, “All of us are on a kind of odyssey. And I think this is what makes the story so lasting, so classic, and applicable to everyone.”

The exhibition provides visitors with many ways to learn about Bearden’s life and work. A multimedia tour is available as a free app on web-compatible devices, including smartphones and tablets, and works with Android and Apple operating systems. Visitors may also access the tour on one of the museum’s handheld devices, available for free check out during their visit. Visitors can create works of art by remixing Bearden’s collages in a free iPad app titled “Romare Bearden: Black Odyssey Remixes.” With this app, visitors can layer shapes and forms, and add written words and sound to a variety of Bearden backdrops. (This app is only accessible on visitors’ iPads; devices are not available at the museum.)

Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in cooperation with the Romare Bearden Foundation and Estate and DC Moore Gallery. The exhibition and its related educational resources are supported by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The Fort Worth presentation is supported in part by Bates Container, the Garvey Texas Foundation and AZZ incorporated. www.cartermuseum.org

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