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African American Works on Paper from the Cochran Collection

March 7 through July 4, 2004


The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook is proud to present African American Works on Paper from the Wes and Missy Cochran Collection.  This exhibition features seventy-five prints, drawings, and watercolors, as well as mixed-media pieces, by sixty-four artists who have been creating art since the 1930s. The exhibit is on display in the Art Museum's Main Gallery. (right: Jacob Lawrence, Prophet II. Cochran Collection.)

Included in this exhibition are works by such well-known artists as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Sam Gilliam, Elizabeth Catlett and Howardena Pindell.  Lesser known artists who merit more attention include John Wilson, James Wells, Marvin and Morgan Smith, Beverly Buchanan and Trena Banks, to name a few.

Wes and Missy Cochran come from a decidedly middle-class background (he is a stonemason, she is a public school teacher), and as such they defy all the stereotypical impressions and profiles of art collectors.  The Cochran's have devoted their lives to supporting the arts, artists and collecting. They have amassed a vast and significant collection of more than 400 works on paper. (left:  Jacob Lawrence, Amistad Incident, 1989. Cochran Collection.)

The Cochran Collection offers the viewer a rich survey of the work of African American artists in the twentieth century, ranging from the naturalistic to the abstract, from the socially and the politically engaged to the poetic and the hallucinatory.  It poses and answers many questions.  Is there a distinct theme -- or are there a number of distinct themes -- that distinguish African American artists from other artists?  Are there visual tones and techniques that typically inhabit and illuminate their work?


Programs related to the art exhibit African American Works on Paper:

Sunday March 28
2:00 in Gillespie Meeting Room
African-Americans and the Great Migration
Floris Cash
The Harlem Renaissance exalted the unique culture of African-Americans and redefined African-American expression.  One of the factors contributing to the rise of this movement was the great migration of African-Americans to northern cities (such as New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C.) starting about 1920.  Dr. Cash, Professor of Africana studies at SUNY Stony Brook, speaks about this early 20th century migration that effected enormous changes for African-Americans.
Sunday April 18
2:00 in the Art Museum
Poetry Reading
New Voices in African-American Poetry: Poets of Cave Canem
Poetry reading by poets from Cave Canem, an African-American poetry collective committed to the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African-American poetry.  Beginning as an all-volunteer effort in 1996, Cave Canem now presents workshops, public readings, a first book prize and an annual anthology.
Sunday April 25
12:30-1:30 in the Art Museum
Gallery Tour
African-American Works on Paper
Eva Greguski, Assistant Curator
2:00-3:00 in Gillespie Meeting Room
Afro-Cuban Jazz Concert
Take a gallery tour of the exhibition African-American Works on Paper with curator Eva Greguski.  Following the tour, come and listen to Afro-Dysia, a contemporary jazz band encompassing a unique combination of musicians from diverse musical backgrounds including Afro-Cuban, samba and candombe.  These talented musicians play regularly at clubs and festivals throughout the New York metro region.

The Stony Brook venue of this exhibition is part of a seventeen-city national tour.  The tour is developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Arts Services, Kansas City, Missouri. The exhibit is sponsored in part locally by Fleet Bank.(right:  James Wells, African Fantasy, 1929. Linocut. Cochran Collection.


Editor's note: RLM readers may also enjoy this earlier article:


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Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.