“Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott” Exhibition

The New Museum of Contemporary Art

poster for “Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott” Exhibition
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Second Floor

The bold and richly rendered works of Robert Colescott (1925–2009) traverse art history to offer a satirical take on issues of race, beauty, and American culture. Often ahead of his time, Colescott explored the ways in which personal and cultural identities are constructed and enacted through the language and history of painting. This presentation offers a long overdue celebration of Colescott as one of the most consequential artists of his time.

Colescott is perhaps best known for works made during the 1970s in which he reimagined iconic artworks to examine the absence of Black men and women as protagonists in dominant cultural and social narratives. Works like George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook (1975) offer irreverent parodies of familiar masterpieces, while incisively critiquing America’s often brutally discriminatory past and present. In its complex interplay of high art and vernacular traditions, his work has opened new possibilities for chronicling the history of America while ridiculing its grandiosity and biases.

This groundbreaking exhibition highlights Colescott’s legacy as a standard bearer for figuration in the 1970s, a forerunner of the appropriation strategies of the 1980s, an overlooked contributor to debates around identity politics in the 1990s, and a pioneer in addressing some of the most challenging issues in global culture today.

The New Museum has a long history with the artist, presenting the exhibition “Robert Colescott: A Retrospective” in 1989.

“Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott” is co-curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Matthew Weseley. It is organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. The presentation at the New Museum is coordinated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator.

[mage: George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook, (1975) Acrylic on canvas, 78 1/2 × 98 1/4 in. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, 2021.45.1. © 2022 The Robert H. Colescott Separate Property Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.]



from June 30, 2022 to October 09, 2022


http://www.newmuseum.org/ (venue's website)


General Admission $12, Seniors $10, Students $8, 18 and under Free, Members Free, Thursday Evenings (from 7pm) Free.

Venue Hours

From 11:00 To 18:00
thursdays closing at 21:00
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays


Address: 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-219-1222

On the corner of Prince St. Subway: 6 to Spring Street or N/R to Prince Street. Bus: M103 to Prince and Bowery or M6 to Broadway and Prince.

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