"I have chosen to paint the life of my people as I know and feel it - passionately and dispassionately." Bearden added, "It is important that the artist identify with the self-reliance, hope, and courage of the people around him, for an art must always go where energy is"
The Block: Poems
(Langston Hughes, Romare Bearden (Illustrator))
The title is from Bearden's 1971 picture of a city block, an exuberant six-panel collage that is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thirteen poems by Hughes have been matched with pieces of the collage: sometimes a poem is opposite one whole panel; sometimes the focus is just on a small visual detail. There's no attempt to make literal connections, but together words and pictures, and even topography, express the vitality and excitement of an urban neighborhood.