The Many Lives of Romare Bearden

Nell Painter at The Nation:

Campbell’s extraordinarily rich biography offers its readers many rewards. Nowhere here is the awkwardness of critics unfamiliar with the history of black art or who isolate it from its frames of reference or consider only how black artists ought to criticize race in America. Hers is a self-confident study of an artist’s life in all its contexts.

The assurance of Campbell’s narrative and the strength of her critical insights stem from the depth of her experience as an art historian and her leading roles at the Studio Museum in Harlem and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She also has the advantage of having known and corresponded with Bearden for years, even curating an exhibit, “Mysteries: Women in the Art of Romare Bearden,” in 1975. Campbell’s proximity to Bearden allows her to capture his generosity as a colleague and mentor as well as his larger role in the art world.

more here.