Bernard Lumpkin on Bringing His Private Art Collection to the Public

“I think it’s important to consider what you want to do with your collection,” said Lumpkin. “That of course leads you to the next piece or artist or chapter you want to tell in the story of your collection – whatever that story may be.” For example, Lumpkin introduced the complexity of visual representations of the black body one, which led to a deeper study of the effects of color and shape. This in turn led him to artists like and.

“Young, Gifted and Black” is now opening in Chicago after a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lumpkin noted that the exhibition may initially appeal to more members of the art world than the general public. But that may be different now, following the assassination of George Floyd in May 2020 and the protests that followed, public awareness of racial relations has changed significantly. The show, the artists, the works, the accompanying catalog and the mission of the overall project have acquired a new meaning. The works presented address issues such as diversity and inclusion; and challenges museums and galleries to hire more people of color, promote the work of various artists, and rethink community engagement and support strategies.

Just as artists are activists, for Lumpkin patrons and collectors also have the duty and the privilege to stand up for progress and justice. Building his collection with this in mind was critical to represent change, collaborate, and advocate change. “Young, Gifted and Black” is just the beginning.

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