Cinque Artists Talk Program: Revisiting the Spiral Group

Revisiting the Spiral Group- A virtual conversation commemorating the historic gathering 

Thursday, July 27 2023  6:00 – 7:00 pm (EDT) – Virtual on Zoom/Youtube/Facebook

Register for link:

July 5, 2023 marked the day 60 years ago when a group of African-American visual artists came together to form the historic collective. They provided community, mentorship, and discussed the ways they as artists could respond to the Civil Rights Movement. Members included Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Charles Alston, Emma Amos, Richard Mayhew, Merton D. Simpson, and Hale Woodruff, and more. Until they disbanded in 1966, the group met regularly to discuss their artistic ambitions and the issues they faced as African American artists. One of their concerns was a lack of venues where they could show their work so they rented a space at 147 Christopher Street in New York City.

In 1965, they mounted the one and only exhibition First Group Showing: Works in Black and White.

The Revisiting the Spiral Group webinar commemorates this historic coming together, and its lasting significance. Our virtual conversation features Richard Mayhew, the last living member of the group, and Courtney J. Martin, art historian and director of the Yale Center for British Art. They will be joined by moderator Camara Dia Holloway, project manager of the Romare Bearden Digital Catalogue Raisonné.

Information about the collective and much more can be found in the newly released materials from The Romare Bearden Papers (1900–2008, bulk 1940–1988).

Thursday, July 27th at 6:00 PM (EDT)

This program will also live-stream on Facebook at Romare Bearden Foundation, and on Youtube at Harlem One Stop

About the speakers

Richard Mayhew

is an Afro-Native American landscape painter, illustrator, and arts educator. Mayhew has received numerous awards and grants including a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, a Ford Foundation grant, a Tiffany Foundation Award, and a National Academy of Design Merit Award. His work is collected by major museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Richard Mayhew speaks about his relationship to his dual heritage—African American and Native American—as a critical element in his life and work. Mayhew is of Cherokee, Lumbee, Shinnecock, and African American descent, and his cultural background has influenced his artistic style in significant ways. As Janet Berry Hess describes in her book on Mayhew’s life and work, Mayhew’s images “suggest the spiritual depth of the artist, but it is in the context of artistic production and community reception that they truly emerge as African American, and in their emphasis on land and lucidity that they reveal a heritage of Native American Spirituality.”  The artist’s recent show, “Richard Mayhew: Natural Order” at Venus Over Manhattan Gallery, consisted of 21 paintings and works on paper done between 1973 and 2022.  For more on Mayhew visit:

According to Mayhew, the Spiral group never really ceased to exist, but rather took on another form through the discussions among African American artists all across the United States today.

Courtney J. Martin

is the Paul Mellon director of the Yale Center for British Art. Previously, she was the deputy director and chief curator at the Dia Art Foundation, taught at Brown University and the University of California, Berkeley, and worked at the Ford Foundation. In 2012, Martin curated Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip . . . Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings 1973–1978 at Tate Britain. At Dia, she curated an exhibition of the painter Robert Ryman and oversaw exhibitions of works by Dan Flavin, Sam Gilliam, Blinky Palermo, Dorothea Rockburne, Keith Sonnier, and Andy Warhol. She co-edited Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator (Getty Publications, 2015, winner of the 2016 Historians of British Art Book Award) and edited Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art (Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2016). In 2015, she received an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. She received a doctorate from Yale University. She sits on the boards of the Chinati Foundation, the Center for Curatorial Leadership, Hauser & Wirth Institute, and the Henry Moore Foundation.

Courtney Martin published “From the Center: The Spiral Group 1963 – 1966” in Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art (Fall 2011) She conducted an interview with Spiral member Emma Amos as part of Romare Bearden in the Modernist Tradition symposium at Columbia College- Chicago in 2007. (photo by Martin Lavitt)

Camara Dia Holloway

Dr. Camara Holloway is the Project Manager for the Romare Bearden Digital Catalogue Raisonné. Her research expertise is on twentieth century American and African American art, with special knowledge of African American photography and critical race art history. She is the founding co-Director of the Association of Critical Race Art History. Holloway’s graduate work was at Yale University and her undergraduate work at Barnard College. She has previously taught at the University of Delaware, the University of Southern California, Swarthmore College and Sarah Lawrence College. Holloway curated the exhibition, “Portraiture & the Harlem Renaissance: The Photographs of James L. Allen” at the Yale University Art Gallery in 1999, which rescued the Harlem Renaissance photographer from obscurity. Her most recent publication is the essay, “Dark Stars: Reinventing Blackness in the Interwar New York-London Circuit,” in the peer-reviewed journal American Art.

Learn more about the Catalogue Raisonne Project at the Wildenstein Plattner Institute site for The Romare Bearden Digital Raisonné. Now accessible to the public on the WPI Digital Archives, this major archival collection is fundamental to the research and development of the forthcoming Romare Bearden Digital Catalogue Raisonné.  A new launch of the archives includes three important subseries from the Printed Materials series: Exhibition Catalogues and Announcements; Periodicals and Clippings; and Source Materials.


Cinque Artist Program

The Cinque Artist Program is named after the Cinque Gallery founded by artists Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Ernest Crichlow in the late 60s. The gallery served as a catalyst for artists and curators of color to exhibit, but also as a place for networking and building community. Our series promotes presentations from professionals, and practical information, as well as provides a platform for artists to showcase their work. We encourage adult artists, students, and enthusiasts to share in discussions in an intimate setting.

Past Programs

You can view the interview with artist Willie Cole on Bearden Foundation Facebook here:

Other Cinque Talks hosted on our partner Harlem One Stop’s YouTube page: Cultural Collaborative

This program is part of the Harlem Cultural Collaborative of Harlem One Stop

And supported by the Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation

Major support for the Romare Bearden Foundation comes from the Andrew Mellon Foundation

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