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One of Bearden’s most striking methods for introducing the figure of the conjur woman in his art was by distilling Cubist and Dadaist fracture through the deconstructive aesthetics of jazz compositions and African American folk collage and assemblage. With arresting color, Bearden’s conjurers were neither eroticized nor made passive. Essays look at Bearden’s thematic presentation of African American spirituality in relation to his experiments with form and technique. They trace his visual musings on African, Caribbean, and African American expressive mysticism and examine his magical reinvention of pictorial space and time.
This catalog accompanies an exhibition of the same title at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, which will be on display from March 4, 2006 through July 16, 2006. Together, they build on the findings of The Art of Romare Beaden, a major retrospective organized by the National Gallery of Art that toured nationwide.
Richard J. Powell is John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History and co-curator of Conjuring Bearden. Powell is the author of numerous works on African American art, including Black Art: A Cultural History. He serves on the Board of Advisors of the Romare Bearden Foundation.