Selections from the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art showcase Black culture and creativity in “Young, Gifted and Black,” through May 27, Main Gallery, Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG), Zoellner Arts Center.
The collection, owned by former MTV executive Bernard Lumpkin, takes its name from “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” a song recorded by Nina Simone in 1969.
The traveling exhibition has more than 50 works by emerging artists and established artists, all of African descent. The works include oils, acrylics, photographic prints, fabric art, collages, mixed media and sculpture.
Writer Antwaun Sargent and artist Matt Wycoff were guest curators, assisted by LUAG curator Mark Wonsidler.
Chase Hall’s “Eric Dolphy” (2020; acrylic and coffee on cotton canvas, 20 in x 16 in.) is one of several works that Lumpkin and Wonsidler discussed.
“Music is also an important part of Black culture and Black history,” said Lumpkin, gesturing toward the contemporary portrait of American jazz multi-instrumentalist Eric Allan Dolphy Jr. (1928 - 1964). “Giving over the space of the canvas to another artist,” said Lumpkin, was a signature aspect of the painter’s work.
Wonsidler pointed out that coffee was used in coloring the background around the musician’s head.
The pair also spoke about Philadelphia-based artist Wilmer Wilson IV’s “Pres” (2017; staples and pigment print on wood, 96 in. x 48 in. x 1.5 in.). A large print of two men in casual wear is under a thick layer of more than 10,000 staples attaching it to a plywood sheet. Only their hands and the plastic cups they hold are exposed.
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