The Met recently announced that a new exhibit on the Harlem Renaissance is set to debut as part of their collection in 2024.
Titled “The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism” exhibit, the display will be one of the biggest surveys of the museums and the first to celebrate the Harlem Renaissance in over 40 years. Set to run from Feb. 25, 2024, to July 28, 2024, the exhibit features a majority of paintings, sculptures and works on paper donated from the collections of HBCUs such as Fisk University Galleries, Clark Atlanta University Art Museum and Howard University Gallery of Art.
Also supplemented with works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, “The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism” display will focus on the rise of the Harlem Renaissance through a study of the cultural philosophy that inspired the ideas.
Mainly, the exhibit will explore the portrayal of modern life in Harlem and Chicago’s South Side during the 1920s to the 1940s, emphasizing their influence on transatlantic modern art. The gallery will also include paintings that have spotlighted social justice issues through their art as the era came close to the start of the 1950s civil rights movement.
Artists that will be featured in the display include William H. Johnson, Archibald Motley, Jr., Winold Reiss, James Van Der Zee and Charles Alston. Miguel Covarrubias, Aaron Douglas and Meta Warrick Fuller will also have their work included as part of the exhibit.
“This landmark exhibition reframes the Harlem Renaissance, cementing its place as the first African American–led movement of international modern art,” said The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO, Max Hollein, per a press release. “Through compelling portraits, vibrant city scenes, and dynamic portrayals of night life created by leading artists of the time, the exhibition boldly underscores the movement’s pivotal role in shaping the portrayal of the modern Black subject—and indeed the very fabric of early 20th-century modern art.”
Starting from 1918, the Harlem Renaissance was the time period when Harlem became a Black American cultural mecca. The cultural shift expanded to other U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago as part of the Great Migration, taking ideas of ways to express what it’s like to be a Black American and sharing it across the nation.
Known as one of the Golden Ages of the U.S., the Harlem Renaissance gave rise to great writers, artists and other creatives whose work continues to influence artists and writers today.
Amongst those who are often associated with the Harlem Renaissance are writers Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, musicians Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, as well as activist Marcus Garvey.