Making Connections: The Art and Life of Herbert Gentry


Herbert Gentry, Dance Turquoise
Herbert Gentry, Dance Turquoise

January 31, 2014-March 30, 2014

Opening Reception on January 30, 6-8pm

(the gallery will be closed from March 8-16)


The Boston University Art Gallery proudly presents the paintings of 20th and 21st-century abstract painter Herbert Gentry, on loan from a number of private and institutional collections, as well as a few select works by American and European artists who impacted Gentry personally and artistically.  These other artists include one of Gentry’s closest friends, Romare Bearden, his fellow expatriate in Paris, Beauford Delaney, and the European modernist CoBrA artists such as Karel Appel.  This exhibition also features a number of objects from Gentry’s archives, such as letters and personal correspondence.

Gentry’s career was based in both the U.S. and Europe, and his work is intimately tied to the various connections that permeated his travels: personal connections with new acquaintances, connecting old friends with new, and of course, making countless connecting flights.  Gentry facilitated an international and transcontinental web of relationships that can be seen in the web-like, linear entanglements of abstract figures that characterize his art.

Like his fellow African American artists of the mid-century, Gentry opted to live and work in Paris, as well as Sweden, in order to escape the racial discrimination of post-WWII American society. Although he would eventually find a permanent home in New York’s Chelsea Hotel in the 1970s, Gentry kept studios in Paris and Sweden and continued to exhibit his art in both the U.S. and Europe until his last days in Sweden.

A catalog will accompany Making Connections, complete with color plates, a foreword by Patricia Hills, Boston University Professor of Art History, and essays by Rachel Tolano and Mary Anne Rose Gentry, Ed.D., executor of the Herbert Gentry estate.  To order a copy, click here.

Upcoming Events Associated with this Exhibition:

*Lecture by Nikki A. Greene, Assistant Professor of Art at Wellesley College, hosted at BUAG on Wednesday February 5, 2014, 6:00 PM

-Dr. Nikki Greene received her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 2010. Her research has included examining African American and African identities, the body, feminism, and music–particularly jazz–in modern and contemporary art. She held the Barra Foundation Fellowship in the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where she catalogued the African American art collections. In January of 2013, Dr. Greene gave a series of lectures on African Art at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

*Gallery Tour with Ph.D. Candidate and Curator Rachel Tolano on February 26, 2014, 4:00PM

*Lecture by Karen Kurczynski, Assistant Professor of Art History at UMAss Amherst, hosted at BUAG on Wednesday March 26, 2014, 6:00 PM

-Karen Kurczynski teaches modern and contemporary art history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of a forthcoming monograph on Asger Jorn based on her Ph.D. dissertation (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 2005), and co-curator of an exhibition on Jorn’s dialogues with other artists at the Museum Jorn in Denmark for the centennial of his birth in 2014. Her writing on modern and contemporary art, politics, and the Situationist International has appeared in Art Papers, Artforum, BlackFlash, October, Rutgers Art Review, Res, Women’s Art Journal, and Third Text.