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The Legacy of the Harlem Renaissance
(American, 1918 - 1979)
Birth of Spring
gift of the Childe Hassam Fund
of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
The cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance occurred in urban African-American communities between 1919 and 1940. During this period, the political, cultural and economic climate of the rural South motivated hundreds of thousands of African Americans to travel North to cities in the east and Midwest. This migration spurred intense artistic and intellectual activity in urban areas such as New York City’s Harlem, one of the most active centers for the burgeoning black culture of the time.
While the Harlem Renaissance came to an end in the 1940s, its legacy continues into the twenty-first century. Artists affiliated with the movement, such as Romare Beardon, continued to produce artwork into the late twentieth century. Black artists who began their careers after 1940 were either taught or influenced by their artistic forebears. Their consciousness of their ethnic heritage in both Africa and America permeated their artistic production in a variety of ways. This exhibition highlighted works by such artists as Elizabeth Catlett and Charles White, who created politically charged images dealing with black people in society, and Carrie Mae Weems, Willie Cole, and Faith Ringgold, who represent the ongoing link between the ethnically conscious art of the Harlem Renaissance and that of today.
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