Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bert Long's Overalls

Robert Boyd

I was at the Houston Museum of African American Culture a couple of weeks ago for an opening and noticed that in their front gallery there were a group of Bert Long, Jr., paintings and an old pair of overalls.

Bert Long's Overalls

There is nothing about this exhibit on the HMAAC website. I don't know the names of the pieces, except in one case where the name was written on it. I don't know when they were done. And I don't know how long they will be there. They may be gone already. I hope not; I want to go back and look at them again.

The last thing I would have expected Bert Long to paint is a self-portrait in a toreador outfit. But here it is and it's fantastic. It seems like something that may be from an art historical source, but I can't locate a similar toreador paintings by any of the usual suspects.

Bert Long, Spirit of Art

When Bert Long saw rapidly melting colored ice treats (or whatever these things are), he saw the Spirit of Art.

The thing that is great about this old ragged banner is the flower Long placed where the stars would normally go. I propose this design to replace our current flag.

The museum has an enclosed back yard that I had never visited before.

It's long and narrow and surrounded on two sides by freshly built tall townhouses. This makes it fairly shady and cool (depending on the time of year, of course). The lawn of clover (or something like clover) adds to the effect. It is a perfect setting for a sculpture garden. These are pieces that are related to Long's well-known Field of Vision sculpture group on Elgin. But I think this setting is more beautiful, and the scattering of eyes on pedestals here is just right.

This is a magic place.  I want to return and just sit for a while.


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