It was a reunion, but of people who'd probably never met. Packed into a basement room in Harlem one night last week, dozens of the artists featured in the Schomburg Center's new exhibition, "Black New York Artists of the 20th Century," stuffed themselves with caterer's lasagna and then hauled their catalogues around for one another to sign. If it felt as though the artists all knew each other, it wasn't in the usual insider way. There was none of the nudge-nudge wink-wink of art mafia parties, where everyone knows everyone and has a utilitarian reason why. And there was little of the well-rehearsed art world blasé. "While I'm in this feeling, let me get this feeling," the 79-year-old WPA painter Herbert Gentry was overheard saying to 62-year-old artist Adger Cowans. "You and your work have meant so very much to me." The feeling was mutual, from... More >>>
By Sylvia Plachy
Artist Adger Cowans, left, trades catalogue notes with painter Herbert Gentry, right, at the Schomburg Center.