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Melvin Edwards and Steve Locke

Melvin Edwards, Wayou Tugge, 2014

Melvin Edwards and Steve Locke are included in the group exhibition Then Is Now: Contemporary Black Art in America at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT.

The institution's press release follows:

Then Is Now: Contemporary Black Art in America explores how Black artists of our time critically engage with the past and present. Over generations, these artists observe how individual and collective histories inform a present understanding of identity, memory, and heritage. The exhibition begins with works made in or around 1968 and culminates with examples made as recently as 2021, encompassing historical legacies of slavery, the era of the Civil Rights Movement, and the racial reckonings of the present day. Other works showcase artistic approaches to personal and familial histories or take up the history of art, revealing how artists reimagine art-historical precedents in order to subversively center Black experiences and narratives. The gallery is anchored by Hank Willis Thomas’s text-based lenticular piece Then is Now (2017). As the text shifts along with the viewer’s perspective, Thomas’s conceptual intervention invites us to contemplate the pictorial constructs of past and present that are at the heart of this presentation.

Selected primarily from private collections within the Greenwich community and beyond, the works in Then is Now: Contemporary Black Art in America are presented in pairs or small groups to address the making of and dialogue with history among this intergenerational group of artists.