Bernard Lumpkin on the presentation of his private art collection to the public

“I think it’s important to consider what you’re trying to do with your collection,” Lumpkin said. “This will naturally lead you to the next piece, or the next artist, or the next chapter you want to tell in your collection’s story, whatever that story is.” , for example, introduced Lumpkin to the complexity of visual representations of the black body, which prompted further investigation into the impacts of color and form. This, in turn, led him to artists such as and.

“Young, Gifted and Black” is now set to open in Chicago after a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lumpkin noted that initially the exhibit may have appealed more to members of the art world than to the general public. But it may be different now, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and the protests that followed have resulted in a marked shift in public awareness of race relations. The show, the artists, the works, the catalog that accompanies it and the mission of the project as a whole have taken on a new meaning. The works presented deal with issues such as diversity and inclusion; and challenge museums and galleries to hire more people of color, promote the work of more diverse artists, and reconsider community engagement and support strategies.

For Lumpkin, just as artists are activists, patrons and collectors have a duty and a privilege to work for progress and justice. Building your collection with this in mind has been crucial in representing, collaborating and advocating for change. “Young, Gifted and Black” is just the beginning.

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