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Honoring Black History Month through art with CAM

by Cincinnati Art Museum


Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… , Hank Willis Thomas , Robert S. Duncanson , “Something Over Something Else”: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series , Romare Bearden , Black & Brown Faces

Join the Cincinnati Art Museum in celebrating Black History Month by learning more about Black artists in the permanent collection, the contemporary landscape, and the Cincinnati community. Having an encyclopedic collection, CAM has been lucky enough to be home or host to a broad range of exhibitions of work by artists from the Black diaspora over the years. From 1840s paintings by Robert S. Duncanson to Hank Willis Thomas’s exhibition All Things Being Equal... hosted in 2020, there is a rich history of work by Black artists to explore, study, and inspire. Revisit some of these recent exhibitions and community led programs with us...

Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal...

All Things Being Equal exhibition

In 2020 the Cincinnati Art Museum was honored to present the first major retrospective of leading contemporary artist Hank Willis Thomas. Thomas’s bold, thoughtful, and deeply moving artwork asks us to see and challenge systems of inequality that are woven into the fabric of contemporary life, leaving no doubt that art is an essential tool in the ongoing struggle for social justice. 

Start with an artist-narrated video walkthrough of the exhibition to gain insight into Thomas’s process and the history behind his works. Continue your deep dive with recordings of a Conversation with the Artist or Q&A. Curious about community responses and interaction? Check out The Workshop to view community members responding to individual works of art, or an Impact Circle featuring Thomas in dialogue with a panel of Cincinnatians.  

Robert S. Duncanson: Digital Exhibition

Painting of a lake side scene

The history of African American artistic identity in the Queen City during the nineteenth century is best studies through the work of Robert S. Duncanson. Active in Cincinnati during the 1840s, Duncanson was a landscape painter of the Hudson River School. The grandson of an emanicpated enslaved man, Duncanson was an abolitionist who found a tight knit political and artistic community in Cincinnati. Visit the online exhibition to read about the amazing life and evocative art of the painter whose work was recently selected as the Inaugural Painting by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. 

Romare Bearden: Something Over Something Else

Something over something else exhibition

Special exhibition "Something Over Something Else": Romare Bearden’s Profile Series reunited for the first time 30 vibrant collages from Bearden’s renowned series. This two-part series chronicled Bearden’s journey from rural Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, to his treasured first studio in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, telling stories of both of the artist’s life during the 1920s and 30s and of America during the period of the Great Migration. Listen to a museum docent lead you through the exhibition in a podcast audio tour, take a look inside the exhibition, or learn more about the Romare Bearden Foundation online. 

Black & Brown Faces, organized by Paloozanoire 

Black and Brown Faces exhibition

In 2020 the Cincinnati Art Museum was proud to partner with local organization Paloozanoire to bring the work of 10 contemporary artists of color, all with ties to Cincinnati, to the museum. The special exhibition presented an opportunity to engage with working artists on their thoughts and process during the extraordinary year in the ongoing struggle for racial equity that was 2020. Hear all 10 Artists in Dialogue on the Art Palace podcast, or watch individual video interviews recorded on opening night of the exhibition. 

Check back throughout February as we share more from the CAM archives and our Cincinnati arts community in honor and celebration of Black History Month.