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Those Who Remained: Southern Black Art from the Barrett Collection

Bill Traylor, Mule and Plow, c. 1939–42. Poster paint and ink on cardboard. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Collection of Didi & David Barrett ’71, 2011.64.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

This event was recorded. Please view the lecture here.

In 2011, Didi and David Barrett (Harvard ’71) donated to the Harvard Art Museums 41 drawings, paintings, and sculpture from their collection of 20th-century art by self-taught, folk, and outsider artists. The gift comprises works by 24 American outsider artists, created mostly from the 1930s through the 1990s.

In this talk, Aleesa Alexander will draw from the Barrett Collection gift to explore the relationship between migration and black modern art in the American South. While 20th-century African American artists like Jacob Lawrence and Noah Purifoy (both of whom lived in coastal centers) achieved cultural recognition during their lifetimes, their Southern peers generally did not. “Those Who Remained” argues that Southern black artists of the 20th century created a distinct, more intensely abstract version of modernism, one highly reflective of their economic, social, and historical circumstances.
Aleesa Alexander is the Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on black artists who lived and/or worked in post–Civil Rights Alabama.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway. Doors will open at 5:30pm.
Free admission, but limited seating is available. Tickets will be distributed beginning at 5:30pm at the Broadway entrance. One ticket per person.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.
Support for the lecture is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.