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Pieces & Parts: The Diversity of American Collage

From February 2, 2024 to May 10, 2024

Location: Special Projects Gallery (Floor 2)

The story of collage is woven into the major artistic movements of the 20th and 21st century, often by creators marginalized by the mainstream art establishment. This exhibition, drawn from recent acquisitions to The Rockwell’s collection, connects how collage and assemblage have been utilized as a tool for cultural investigation and mode of personal expression by BIPOC, Queer and women artists.


Carrie Moyer, Arrangement #8, 2021.

Romare Bearden, The Conversation, 1979. Lithograph on paper, ed. 82/175, 18×25 inches. Clara S. Peck Fund. 2019.5

Romare Bearden, Family (Mother and Child),1980, Color screenprint on paper, 21 × 16 3/4 in. Clara S. Peck Fund. 2021.4.1

Grace Hartigan, The Mirror, 1958.

In its most elemental form, collage is the unification of disparate elements—materials, imagery or objects—into a new idea or concept. Artists scramble familiar photographs, paper and ephemera, bringing it back into focus through the lens of their perspective. Collage as a media weaves in and out of many of the art movements of the 20th century, from Cubism and Pop Art to Art Povera and Dada. In many cases, the artists successfully wielding these techniques melded them with a sharp vision to produce work on the periphery of the art establishment. They created work representing perspectives and communities often marginalized by the mainstream including those of women, BIPOC and Queer artists. Creating work in a medium often perceived as secondary or trivial was a choice these artists made allowing them the freedom to explore concepts of identity; unorthodox explorations of color and form; and community narratives excluded from dominant culture. Drawn from The Rockwell Museum’s permanent collection, the works gathered here represent different approaches using collage, and the imagery of collage, by artists from diverse backgrounds in the second half of the 20th century to the present.

Special Thanks

This exhibition is made possible with support from Melissa J. Gambol.