Beauford Delaney’s Portrait of a Young Musician, part of the Blues for Smoke exhibition.
A new exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art called Blues for Smoke presents a selection of work by American artists, inspired by the Blues. In response to the exhibition’s sprawling theme, Holland Cotter of The New York Times writes: “Blues isn’t a thing; it’s a set of feelings, a state of mind, maybe a state of grace. In origin it’s African-American, developing with gospel and jazz, and folding into R&B, funk and hip-hop. But it has long since become a transethnic phenomenon bigger than music, an enveloping aesthetic that includes art.”
The exhibition prominently features African-American artists, though not exclusively, and includes artists that followers of Swann’s African-American Fine Art department will know well: Beauford Delaney, William T. Williams, Barkley Hendricks, Romare Bearden and Kara Walker, to name a few, and well-known contemporary figures like Jean-Michel Basquiat, William Eggleston and Mark Morrisroe. It is open until April 28, 2013. A full list of the artists in the exhibition is available on the blog for MOCA in LA, where the show was conceived and launched in 2012.