“Something Over Something Else”: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series
September 14, 2019–January 5, 2020
Romare Bearden (American, 1911–1988), Profile/Part II, The Thirties: Artist with Painting and Model, 1981, collage on fiberboard. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase with funds from Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr., and Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable, Margaret and Terry Stent Endowment for the Acquisition of American Art, David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisition Fund, Anonymous Donors, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, The Spray Foundation, Dr. Henrie M. Treadwell, Charlotte Garson, The Morgens West Foundation, Lauren Amos, Margaret and Scotty Greene, Harriet and Edus Warren, The European Fine Art Foundation, Billye and Hank Aaron, Veronica and Franklin Biggins, Helen and Howard Elkins, Drs. Sivan and Jeff Hines, Brenda and Larry Thompson, and a gift to honor Howard Elkins from the Docents of the High Museum of Art, 2014. 66.
Organized by the High, this touring exhibition will be the first to bring dozens of works from Romare Bearden’s eminent “Profile” series together since its debut nearly 40 years ago.
In November 1977, The New Yorker magazine published a feature-length biography of Bearden (American, 1911–1988) as part of its “Profiles” series. The article brought national focus to the artist, whose rise had been virtually meteoric since the late 1960s, and the experience of the interview prompted Bearden to launch his autobiographical “Profile” collection. He sequenced the project in two parts: “Part I/The Twenties,” featuring memories from his youth in the South and in Pittsburgh, and “Part II/The Thirties,” about his early adult life in New York.
Inspired by the High’s recent acquisition of a key work from the series, “Something Over Something Else” will be the first exhibition to reassemble more than 30 collages from the series and to re-create the experience of its original presentations in 1978 and 1981, which featured accompanying wall texts Bearden wrote in collaboration with his friend Albert Murray, an essayist, jazz critic and novelist.
Beyond providing the opportunity to explore an understudied body of work, the exhibition will investigate the roles of narrative and self-presentation for an artist who made a career of creating works based on memory and experience. It will also reveal some of Bearden’s broader inspirations, which lend insight into American life in the first decades of the 20th century.
This exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Andrew Wyeth Foundation for American Art.
This exhibition is made possible by
Exhibition Series Sponsors
Premier Exhibition Series Supporter
The Antinori Foundation
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
Tom and Susan Wardell
Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole
Robin and Hilton Howell
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Margot and Danny McCaul
Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Marjorie and Carter Crittenden, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, Massey Charitable Trust, RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund, and Dr. Diane L. Wisebram