Photographers on Bearden: a conversation with Frank Stewart and Chester Higgins Jr.
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 at 6:30 pm ET on Zoom
Join renowned photographers Frank Stewart and Chester Higgins, Jr., in a conversation moderated by Dalila Scruggs, Curator of Photography and Prints at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, who will discuss their relationship with the acclaimed African-American artist, Romare Bearden, and their experiences photographing African-American artists and culture over the years.
This event celebrates the initial release of the Romare Bearden Papers by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute (WPI). The WPI has worked closely with the Romare Bearden Foundation to make the artist’s archival collection accessible to the public in anticipation of the forthcoming Romare Bearden Digital Catalogue Raisonné.
The Romare Bearden Papers are accessible to the public on the WPI’s Digital Archives.
Frank Stewart shot his first photographs at the 1963 March on Washington and has gone on to make compelling images ever since. Stewart earned a BFA in photography from Cooper Union in 1975 and counts Roy DeCarava, Garry Winogrand, Jack Whitten, and Romare Bearden amongst his mentors. Stewart was the first photographer-in-residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem, where he also taught photography. He has been a member of Kamoinge, Inc. since 1982, and was the lead photographer for Jazz at Lincoln Center almost three decades. Stewart is widely published, has had more than thirty solo exhibitions and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. His work is held in the collections of major museums including Bowdoin College Art Museum, Brunswick, Maine, the Detroit Institute of Arts; George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the National Museum of African American Art and Culture, Washington, DC, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Stewart is the subject of an upcoming retrospective titled, Nexus: An American Photographer’s Journey, 1960’s to the Present, that opens at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, in June 2023.
Chester Higgins Jr. is a photographer known for his eloquent images of the life and culture of African Americans and the people of the African Diaspora. He counts P. H. Polk, Arthur Rothstein, Cornell Capa, Gordon Parks and Romare Bearden amongst his mentors. He was a staff photographer for the New York Times from 1975 to 2014. Widely published, his photographs have appeared in magazines including Ebony, Essence, Fortune, LIFE, Look, Newsweek, and TIME, and in several books including Sacred Nile, Echo of the Spirit and Elder Grace. His work has appeared in numerous solo exhibitions, most recently The Indelible Spirit at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery. He has received fellowships and grants from the International Center of Photography, The Ford Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation. His photographs are included in the following permanent collections: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, the Library of Congress, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York.
Dalila Scruggs is Curator for Photography and Prints at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She earned a Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard University, where she focused on African American art. She has held curatorial positions at the Williams College Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum, and served as the Brooklyn Museum’s Museum Education Fellowship Coordinator.
The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc. (WPI) is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the study of art history and to fostering the accessibility, cataloguing, and digitization of archival materials that support critical research in the field.