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Conjuring Bearden

Faculty/Student Co-Curated Exhibition

March 04 – July 16, 2006
Installation view of Conjuring Bearden at the Nasher Museum.

FIRST FACULTY/STUDENT EXHIBITION

Duke professor Richard Powell and students Christine Wang (blue shirt), Victoria Trout (black shirt), Alicia Garcia (boots) and Margaret Di Giulio (tan skirt) work to install the exhibition Conjuring Bearden. Photo by Jon Gardiner for Duke Photography.
Duke professor Richard Powell and students Christine Wang (blue shirt), Victoria Trout (black shirt), Alicia Garcia (boots) and Margaret Di Giulio (tan skirt) work to install the exhibition Conjuring Bearden. Photo by Jon Gardiner for Duke Photography.

For Conjuring Bearden, guest curator Richard J. Powell brought his expertise as one of the foremost scholars of African and African-American art. Powell, Duke’s John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History, wrote Black Art: A Cultural History (2002), among other publications. He serves on the board of the Romare Bearden Foundation. He organized Conjuring Bearden with the assistance of four Duke undergraduate students: Margaret DiGiulio, Alicia Garcia, Victoria Trout and Christine Wang.

Although Romare Bearden was already known as one of the most important American artists of the 20th century, Conjuring Bearden was the first exhibition to focus on the idea of the “conjur” woman and “Obeah man,” seminal and recurring themes in Bearden’s art and in
southern African-American culture. The exhibition included 58 works of art by Bearden from public and private collections. Many works were on public view for the first time.

The museum published a 100-page color catalogue, Conjuring Bearden, with essays by Powell and his students. That spring, the museum hosted a two-day scholarly symposium on Bearden.

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