“Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series,” the High Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, pays tribute to the 20th-century artist the New York Times called “the nation’s foremost collagist” upon his death in 1988.
The exhibition, which opened Sept. 14 and closes Feb. 2, is the High’s first one featuring dozens of works from this eminent series concerning the late artist since the series debuted nearly 40 years ago.
The exhibition gets its name from The New Yorker magazine’s 1977 a feature-length biography of Bearden as part of Bearden’s “Profile” series. The article brought national focus to the artist, whose rise had been virtually meteoric since the late 1960s, a news release on the exhibition stated.
That experience prompted Bearden to launch the autobiographical “Profile” collection which he sequenced his life in two parts: “Part I, The Twenties,” featuring memories from his youth in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh, and “Part II, The Thirties,” about his early adult life in New York.
The project is co-curated by Stephanie Heydt, the High’s curator of American art, and Bearden scholar Robert G. O’Meally, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University in New York.
Inspired by the High’s recent acquisition of a key work from the series, “Something Over Something Else” is the first exhibition to reassemble more than 30 collages from it, the release stated. The exhibition design is in reference to the experience of the series’ original gallery presentations by incorporating their handwritten captions into the accompanying wall texts.
“We are privileged to organize ‘Something Over Something Else,’ which honors Bearden’s legacy as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists and brings important recognition to this beautiful and powerful series,” High Director Rand Suffolk said in the release.
Heydt said the High was excited to reassemble Bearden’s original “Profile” project, “and to experience these works along with their captions, presented in the original sequence.”
“Bearden was a wonderful storyteller, and ‘Profile’ shows Bearden at his best, using words and images to evoke deeply personal memories,” she said in the release.
However, according to Heydt, the exhibit also invites those viewing it to find something to relate to along the way.”
“There is a poetry in the arrangement of the exhibition, that feels unique for Bearden’s work and this show assembles nearly two-thirds of the original group and may be the only opportunity to see those works together again,” she said.
However, Bearden also invites those viewing the works to “find something to relate to along the way,” the release stated.
“There is a poetry in the arrangement of the exhibition that feels unique for Bearden’s work and this show, which assembles nearly two-thirds of the original group and may be the only opportunity to see those works together again,” Heydt said.
Tickets to the exhibition are included with admission to the museum and are $14.50 for adults and free for High members and children 5 and under. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.high.org.