romare bearden: patchwork quilt
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Romare Bearden’s (1911–88) Patchwork Quilt (1970) is a monumental collage that proves the artist’s mastery of his signature medium. Acquired by the Museum of Modern Art the year it was made, the work has become a landmark in Bearden’s career. But his path to creating it, to embracing collage, and to making work that addresses the specifics of Black life in America in ways that are both specific and broadly accessible, was a long one. Bearden’s early career is characterized by broad experimentation with materials and visual styles, as well as major life events that led away from a visual arts practice. In this latest volume of the MoMA One on One series, curator Esther Adler explores Bearden’s search for his artistic voice, illustrated by the breadth of different works in the museum’s collection. A close reading of Patchwork Quilt, its sources and materiality, further emphasize the artist’s unwavering commitment to both his art and community, a combination that has led to his centrality in mid-20th century art.