The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University

When he created his Black Odyssey, Romare Bearden was improvising at the same time that he was carefully constructing works of art he knew would last. We hope to begin a conversation in which Bearden’s achievement is placed in a variety of contexts. First, to investigate the myths of painterly creation, we will look at clips from films that have attempted to represent the work of the artist.  Regardless of how much credence we wish to give to these cinematic representations, we will consider scenes from An Unmarried Woman (1978), New York Stories (1989), Pollock (2000), Basquiat (1996),...

Pianist Geri Allen and multi-instrumentalist Dwight Andrews present a performance of music inspired by the work of Romare Bearden. Continuing their conversation with Bearden’s work over the past few years, this performance will feature existing and new work by both composers and a special presentation of a new Andrews composition for Ms. Allen and the Vega String Quartet. Bearden’s work also inspired playwright August Wilson.  As Wilson’s longtime collaborator, Andrews brings a unique insight to the nexus between the legacies of these two artists and offers a tome to their influence on his...

Columbia to Explore Romare Bearden's A Black Odyssey

A traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey, * made its final stop at Columbia’s Wallach Gallery in November. Centered around collages based on Homer’s Odyssey by the celebrated African American artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988) and curated by Robert O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature, the exhibition is the focal point of a unique yearlong, University-wide exploration of Bearden’s iconic work. Departments and schools, students and faculty across Columbia, from the Core Curriculum to the Global Centers, are engaging in an array of public programs, including lectures and conferences, jazz and spoken word performances, and other special events on and off campus that will continue through the Spring of 2015.

For updates and to register for events please visit Watch this Video by the Columbia News Video Team for more information about this exciting project.


*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.