Daily Pic: “Blue Wave,” an ink-washed collage by Lorna Simpson from a series called “Ebony Heads”. Six pieces from the series are now in the exhibition called “The Bearden Project” at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The Studio Museum invited a number of artists to riff on the great African-American collagist Romare Bearden, in honor of his centennial. Some artists made work that was too close to Bearden, and seemed derivative, while others produced art that barely seemed connected to him. Simpson, however, used his signature technique without aping his look, and spoke to his signature issue of race with a 21st-century subtlety. I am particularly taken with the way Simpson translated vintage black haircuts into the retro medium of colored wash, as though the free expression implied in both somehow belongs to the past.

Our art & design critic, Blake Gopnik, examines a new exhibition at Harlem’s Studio Museum.


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