A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
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The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey
July 12, 2007 - In the Hands of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey.
ART & CRAFT FESTIVAL:
CHICAGO'S PREMIER AFRICAN AMERICAN SUMMERTIME EVENT:THE 33rd ANNUAL DUSABLE MUSEUM ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL
SCHEDULED FOR JULY 14th and 15th
BERNARD AND SHIRLEY KINSEY TO SERVE AS HONORARY CO-CHAIRMEN OF FESTIVAL
Chicago, IL. (7 June 2007) ---Mark your calendars, pack your sun-screen, round up your friends and relatives, gas up the car (or take public transportation) and head to the beautiful southside of Chicago to the country's first African American History Museum on Saturday, July 14, 2007 and Sunday, July 15, 2007 from 12:00 NOON until 8:00 PM, the DuSable Museum of African American History will present it's world-renowned 33rd Annual Arts and Crafts Festival. The event will take place at the Museum which is located at 740 East 56th Place (57th Street at South Cottage Grove Avenue) in Chicago's Washington Park. A fun-filled good time has been planned&and best of all, it's FREE!
This year the Arts & Crafts Festival has the once-in-a-lifetime honor of having Bernard and Shirley Kinsey of Los Angeles California, serve as Honorary Co-Chairmen of the Festival. The Kinsey's extraordinary exhibition, "In The Hands of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey," will open at the Museum on Friday, July 13, 2007, the day before the Festival begins and continue through March 2, 2008
Chicago, IL. (14 May 2007) --- The DuSable Museum of African American History will present an exhibition drawn from the artistic and historical treasures collected by Bernard and Shirley Kinsey of Los Angeles, California. The exhibition, "In The Hands Of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey," includes some 90 paintings, sculptures, prints, books, documents, manuscripts and vintage photographs the couple has loaned to the DuSable Museum from their personal collection. This is the first time that some of these rare artifacts and documents have been made available for public viewing. The exhibition will open on July 13, 2007 and continue through March 2, 2008, at the Museum, which is located at 740 East 56th Place (57th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue) in Chicago.
Kinsey, the former Xerox Vice President who became Co-Chairman of RLA (Rebuild Los Angeles) in Los Angeles in 1992, and his wife have been collecting for more than 35 years. They started collecting as a way to savor and share their travels, but their art soon became a repository for African American intellectual, historic and artistic works. A vast array of art, artifacts and historical documents fill their home and reinforce the Kinsey's philosophy that tangible objects are evidence of history. "Shirley and I have a thing. I buy the dead artists, she buys the living artists," Kinsey says. "Because I'm looking at the historical part of the thing and she's looking at what she likes and to support emerging artists."
Included in the exhibition are outstanding works of art by leading African American artists that depict the Transatlantic Slave Trade, American Slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction, Nineteenth Century Landscapes, the Harlem Renaissance, The Next Generation and Post Modernism, as well as historical documents and books. The exhibition originated at the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles and is designed to bring attention to the diverse aesthetic interests and collections held by African Americans.
The collection includes important historical documents as well as artistic works. "Art is precious, but historical documents are rare," says Bernard Kinsey. Their collection isn't only African American, but mostly. It contains paintings and sculpture by artists such as Ernie Barnes, Artis Lane, Richard Mayhew, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert Scott Duncanson, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Henry Tanner, Jonathan Green, Phoebe Beasley, Sam Gilliam and others. Books including an 1632 edition of the extremely rare Leo Africanus, September 1773 publication of poems by Phyllis Wheatley; rare tintypes and even letters&like one from Malcolm X to Alex Haley&some from the distant and not-so-distant past. Kinsey's motivation to collect comes from a simple question to learn who we are and where we came from. And to explore his people's history in the United States&a history that the couple actively participated in during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Both Kinsey's are native Floridians who met while they were attending Florida A&M University. Shirley was arrested for her participation in a protest and both were active in marches and sit-ins. They have been married for 40 years and have a son, Khalil. When Bernard Kinsey left Xerox in 1991 after 20 years, the Xerox Black Employee Organization commissioned a portrait of the Kinseys' son by Artis Lane as a retirement gift. (Lane is a painter, sculptor and printmaker known for her portrait of Rosa Parks commissioned by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery). There is also a Artis Lane portrait of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey commissioned as a gift by several of their friends.
As the Kinsey's evolved as collectors, they began to identify and collect the work of artists who make up and define African American art and culture. Moreover, they collect documents that illuminate historical moments. They see themselves as caretakers of their collection, their ownership temporary. They say, Bernard Kinsey continues, "We are really more keepers of this art and historical documents, rather than owners, because frankly, no one can really own this in a sense."
The Kinseys are at a stage in life where they can afford to indulge their passions---one even greater than collecting: sharing. Together they have raised more than $22 million for community based organizations, churches and scholarships for historically Black colleges.
Bernard Kinsey currently serves as president of KBK Enterprises, a management consulting firm. He is a recognized expert and leader in the field of urban revitalization and economic development and has counseled the governments of South Africa, Germany, England, and France.
"In The Hands of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey" was organized by the California African American Museum. This exhibition and its associated catalogue were made possible by funding from the State of California and Friends, The Foundation of the California African American Museum and lead sponsors Northern Trust and Toyota Motor Sales. The Chicago presentation of the exhibit is funded in part by the Chicago Park District, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency and United Airlines, the official airline of the DuSable Museum.
The DuSable Museum of African
American History, the oldest institutions of its kind in the country, has
been dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation and
dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African
descent for 46 years. For more information on the Museum and its programs,
please call (773) 947-0600 or you may visit our website at www.dusablemuseum.org
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