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Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott

Until Closing Soon
New Museum / New York / Art

Robert Colescott is America’s 20th-century equivalent of William Hogarth. Both were masters of sharp, witty social criticism and both were way ahead of their time. Colescott (1925–2009) was mixed race but later identified as Black. His paintings often rework famous images—such as Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, or Édouard Manet’s Olympia—by including Black men and women as protagonists. In doing this, he encourages us to imagine the damaging absence of African-Americans in art and history. Colescott’s works are comic but not funny; and they are fraught with his frustration. This exhibition showcases paintings from his 60-year career. —Thalia Bonas

Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott was featured in the June 25, 2022 issue of Air Mail. Read on

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