Dr. Otis Thrash Hammonds, a physician with an affinity for art, formed a collection amassing over 250 pieces. His collection would later become the core of the Hammonds Museum, named in his honor. The latest exhibit conceived from the Hammonds House is titled: Exhibiting Culture: Highlights from the Hammonds House Museum Collection which highlights artwork by some of the world’s most influential African American artists.
Artists featured in this show include: Romare Bearden, Benny Andrews, Elizabeth Catlett, and many more. The exhibition is hosted by Hammonds House Museum’s Executive Director and Chief Curator Karen Comer Lowe. The exhibit showcases 50 works of art dating from the mid-19th century by artists from America, Africa, and the Caribbean. In addition to the art that is available to view, the exhibit offers the chance to listen to interviews from individual artists as a way to give viewers insight into the brilliant minds behind the work.
The show is available August 6 through January 30, 2022. Artwork displayed in the exhibit ranges from eye-opening oil paintings with an array of color, to an intricate bronze sculpture famously associated with the late D.C. native Elizabeth Catlett. Catlett focuses her work on the Black-American experience in the 20th-century. “I have always wanted my art to service my people – to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential. We have to create an art for liberation and for life” said Catlett in regards to her work. In addition to making beautiful sculptures, Elizabeth taught at the National School of Fine Arts in Mexico City in the 1960s. There, she encouraged her students to visit museums during a time where African Americans were prohibited from doing so, emphasizing the determination she had as both an artist and leader for the youth.
Romare Bearden has an extensive line of paintings featured in the Exhibiting Culture show as well, including Girl Beneath Wisteria, Maudell Sleet, and Island Girl in Purple Shade. Bearden was an artist and writer who is best known for his collages and photomontages. His work was influenced by Western European art, African sculpture, and music, in particular, blues and jazz.
Educational landmarks like the Hammonds House Museum are priceless in value when considering the knowledge and life experience attainable from visiting one of their exhibitions. Whether you’re from the Atlanta area or simply stopping by for a weekend, I would highly encourage checking out the mesmerizing pieces on display at the Hammonds House Museum.