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Art of Jazz

January 29, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


“Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes,” a stunning new three-part exhibition at The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art held in collaboration with the Harvard Art Museums, explores the interaction between jazz music and the visual arts. With more than 70 pieces ranging from early jazz age objects and mid-century jazz ephemera to contemporary works by established African American artists, the exhibition explores the beginnings of jazz and traces how it was embraced internationally as an art form, a social movement and musical iconography for Black expression.

Curated by Harvard University art historians Suzanne Blier and David Bindman, “Form,” a collection of paintings and other artworks, and “Performance,” an assortment assortment of books, album covers, and other ephemera, feature paintings by Romare BeardenHenri Matisse, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock; writings by Langston Hughes and musician W.C. Handy (known as “the Father of the Blues”); Carl Van Vechten photographs of legends like Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lena Horne; a portrait of James Baldwin by modernist painter Beauford Delaney, and more. “Performance” also includes a sound installation accompanying an exhibition of artist designed album covers.

The contemporary third part, “Notes,” unfolds through five of Cooper’s main galleries, responding to the other two parts with artwork that illustrates how late-20th– and 21st-century contemporary artists view and engage with jazz. It showcases works by an array of painters, sculptors, musicians and more, including award-winning jazz pianist Jason Moran (who contributes a music-based installation in tribute to jazz legends), conceptual painter Lina Viktor, installation artist Whitfield Lovell, contemporary collage artist Cullen Washington, photographer Ming Smith and sculptor/photographer/clothing designer Christopher Myers. “Notes” is curated by Cooper Gallery Director Vera Grant.

The exhibition runs from February 3 through May 8.


January 29, 2016
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Cooper Gallery
102 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA, MA United States
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