Columbia to Explore Romare Bearden's
African American artist Romare Bearden’s iconic series of works based on Homer’s The Odyssey are finally returning home. On Nov. 15 the traveling exhibition of A Black Odyssey* makes its final stop at Columbia’s Wallach Art Gallery. And starting this month the University launches a diverse, year-long series of programs, lectures and public performances inspired by Bearden’s interpretation of Homer’s classic, a staple of Columbia’s undergraduate Core Curriculum.
Organized by the Smithsonian Institution in cooperation with the Romare Bearden Foundation and Estate and the DC Moore Gallery, the show itself was conceived and curated by Robert O’Meally, Columbia’s Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English. It is sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Bearden (1911–1988) was long a Harlem fixture, working for several years in a studio above the famed Apollo Theater, just a few blocks northeast of campus. “Bearden not only staked a claim to the tales of ancient Greece as having modern relevance, he also made the claim of global cultural collage—that as humans, we are all collages of our unique experiences,” said O’Meally.
While students will delve into new insights provided by Bearden’s vision of The Odyssey, everyone on campus and in the community can join in one of the kick-off events when the Columbia Arts Initiative focuses its annual week long Morningside Lights workshop on creating Bearden-inspired lanterns for a procession from the park up to campus on the night of September 27.
— Video by Columbia News Video Team
- October 23, 6:30pm On The Question of the Gods
- A discussion with Edward Mendelson, Richard Sacks & Andrew Szegedy-Maszak Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave. and W. 117th Street
- November 20, 6:30PMActing Homer: A Staged Reading of the Odyssey
- Actors include Ty Jones, Richard Habersham, and Devyn Tyler, Columbia University Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Schermerhorn Hall, 8th Floor
- November 21, 6:30pm Inspired by the Classics: A Poetry Reading by Rosanna Warren
- Introduced by Mary Gordon, Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave. and W. 117th Street
- December 2, 10am Improvisation in the Arts: A Symposium
- With Fred Moten, John Akomfrah, J. Kameron Carter, Danielle Goldman, NourbeSe Philip and Matana Roberts, Columbia University, Low Library, Faculty Room
- December 2, 8pm A Recital for Terry Adkins (2014)
- George Lewis with Ensemble Pamplemousse
St. Paul’s Chapel, 1160 Amsterdam Ave., Columbia University
- December 4 From Chios to 125th Street: Toward a Black Odysseus
- A film screening and conversation with Krin Gabbard
Buell Hall, East Gallery, Columbia University
- September 19 – 20 Questioning Aesthetics: A Symposium
- Pratt Institute in collaboration with Columbia University Engineering 307, Pratt Institute 200 Willoughby Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205
For more information please visit www.pratt.edu.
- September 20 – 27Morningside Lights: Odysseus on the A Train
- Miller Theatre West 116th Street and Broadway
For more information please visit www.morningside-lights.com.
- September 26, 3pm The Sirens’ Song: Women and Gender in Bearden and Homer
- A discussion with Anjuli Kolb, Marcellus Blount, Rachael DeLue, Helene Foley, Farah Jasmine Griffin & Brooke Holmes Columbia University Buell Hall, East Gallery
For more information and to register, click here.
- October 22, 5pm Excavation of Homer: A Poetry Reading by Alice Oswald
- Introduced by Mary Gordon Venue Information Forthcoming
*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.
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