Virtual Visit: NYS Harlem Art Collection
Explore the artwork of the New York State Harlem Art Collection.
Established in 1976
In the mid-70’s former New York State Senator H. Carl McCall oversaw the committee that established the NYS Harlem Art Collection.
Alfredo Valente. Jacob Lawrence, 1957. Alfredo Valente papers, 1941-1978.
Geoffrey Clements. Hale Woodruff, 1966. American Federation of Arts records, 1895-1993. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Geoffrey Clements. Norman Lewis, 1966. American Federation of Arts records, 1895-1993. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Palmer Hayden, painting. National Archives and Records Administration, Harmon Foundation Collection, 1922 - 1967.
Palmer Hayden, The Subway, ca. 1941, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Hayden Family Revocable Art Trust.
Portrait of Ed Clark in front of his artwork, 1990s. Ed Clark papers, 1923-2017. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Howardena Pindell in her studio at Westbeth Artists Housing, New York, ca. 1970-71. Courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.
Howardena Pindell, Untitled #1, 1975, mixed media. Courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.
During what years were the artworks of the collection created?
The artwork of the New York State Harlem Art Collection was created during the 1950s-1970s.
What type of artwork makes up the collection?
The collection consists of a variety of mediums from painting, sculpture, collage, and photography.
What style of artwork is the collection?
There is no singular dominant style of the collection. While abstraction was prominent during the time period, artists of the collection were also politically motivated by the Blacks Arts Movement and inspired by African art.
With a notable lack of equal representation in broader New York City exhibitions and galleries, how did artists of the Harlem Art Collection exhibit or travel their work throughout the 1950s-1970s?
Artists involved themselves in art collectives such as the Harlem Artist Guild (1935-1941) and the Weusi Artist Collective, established in 1965. Others sought artistic equality and empowerment and spearheaded working artist initiatives such as the Kamoinge Workshop, Spiral Gallery, and Cinque Gallery, to name a few.
What is Howardena Pindell’s methodical artistic process of deconstruction and reconstruction?
In the 1970s, Pindell began hole-punching paper or canvas to create thousands of circles which she painted, numbered or drew. She would cut and sew her canvases together resulting in textured layers onto which Pindell occasionally added glitter or perfume. Throughout her career, Pindell continued to experiment with cutting and reconstructing different materials, such as postcards.
What is Ed Clark’s “big sweep” method of painting?
In 1956, Ed Clark wanted to find a tool that would allow him to cover large areas of canvases in one single stroke. He laid his canvases on the floor and used a janitor’s push-broom to forcefully push the paint on the canvas creating a swift movement to the overall look of the artwork he termed. Clark referred to this method as the “big sweep.”