Drawing the Block
Guest Blog by Kira Lynn Harris
These photos are from the second day of installation. My assistants (Andrea Solstad, Stuart Lorimer and recent Studio Museum artist in residence Valerie Piraino) met in person for the first time the day before. We began our draw-a-thon in earnest on Friday afternoon and went through the weekend.
Analyzing, breaking apart and re-imagining Romare Bearden's The Block is an education unto itself–we saw things that I hadn't realized were in the painting, especially Bearden's compositional structure, usually unnoticed because of the dazzling color. As we were installing over the weekend, I kept thinking of Bearden and Picasso...not only does the crazy light bulb put me in mind of Guernica, but reducing The Block to a linear, black and white composition makes me think that Bearden really had a dialogue going with Picasso. There's nothing like a project like this to make you see a painting with fresh eyes–I thought I knew The Block!
I also feel like I'm engaging in a similar–albeit abbreviated–dialogue with The Block as Picasso had with Velázquez's Las Meninas. I was lucky enough to see this series when I visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona this summer and it was one of the highlights of my trip.
--Kira Lynn Harris