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HISTORY AND STYLE OF THE HARLEM COMMUNITY DOCUMENTED IN "HARLEM ON MY MIND" [[image: photo of Thomas Hoving, director of Metropolitan Museum of Art]] [[caption]] MAJOR SPECIAL EXHIBITION AT METROPOLITAN MUSEUM [[/caption]] [[images: two photos, each of a black male]] [[caption]] THE CULTURAL CAPITAL OF BLACK AMERICA 1900-1968 [[/caption]] Harlem, its culture, style and history as a dynamic force in New York, is surveyed and recreated in "Harlem On My Mind": The Cultural Capital of Black America 1900-1968, a major special exhibition opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art January 18. Conceived as a multi-media, environmental exhibition, "Harlem On My Mind" juxtaposes photographs, slides, films, archival recordings, taped interviews, music and street sounds, documenting the events, personalities and richness of Harlem's seven-decade history as a black community. Much of the material in the exhibition is being seen publicly for the first time. Memorabilia assembled from archives and private collections throughout the country is supplemented by interviews, films and video-tapes specially created for "Harlem On My Mind" by the exhibition staff. Speaking about the exhibition, Thomas P. F. Hoving, the Museum's Director, said: "I'm proud that the Metropolitan Museum, as one of the great cultural institutions of the Western Hemisphere, is presenting this extraordinary exhibition. I think all of us - black and white - are going to learn something from it." "Harlem On My Mind" has been created and organized by Allon Schoener, Visual Arts Director of the New York State Council on the Arts and Exhibition Coordinator, with a special exhibition staff, including: Reginald McGhee. Photographic Research Director; Donald Harper, Associate Research and Media Director; Robert Malone, Exhibition Systems Designer; Martin S. Moskof, Exhibition Graphics Designer; and Mrs. A'Lelia Nelson, Community Relations Coordinator. The exhibition is made possible through a grant by The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc., and has had the direct cooperation and participation of leaders in Harlem's cultural, religious, social, and civic organizations. (A listing of the Community Advisory Committee for the "Harlem On My Mind" exhibitions is appended.) Allon Schoener commented on the exhibition: "Most Americans tend to think of twentieth-century culture as being white; there hasn't been sufficient recognition, knowledge or understanding of the struggles and achievements of America's urban black communitites. 'Harlem On My Mind' should generate this awareness for New Yorkers and hopefully encourage other communities to recognize and document the history of black culture around them." Harlem's social conditions, politics, religion, music, theater, fashion and food, heroes, soldiers, writer and leading personalities are documented in six distinct historical periods: 1900-1919: From White to Black Harlem; 1920-1929: An Urban Black Culture; 1930-1939: Depression and Hard Times; 1940-1949: War Hope and Opportunity; 1950-1959: Frustration and Ambivalence; and 1960-1968: Militancy and Identity. Based on specially-designed and constructed audio-visual systems, the installation, created by Robert Malone and Martin Moskof, is designed to parallel, in complexity and intensity of the techniques used, the emotional content of the historical material in the exhibition. Each decade is presented with its own environmental tone and emotional pitch in a flexible division and reorganization of the Museum's thirteen Special Exhibition Galleries. Monaural sound projection in the first galleries reflects the calm of Harlem's transition from a middle-class white to a black community; in the 1920's galleries, high level sound recreates the impact of the big band, big entertainment era; the depression is mirrored in a muffled, low-light-level gallery, simulating the silent weight of an endless breadline; mylar screens and multi-track, high-intensity stereo sound projected through a variety of speakers, parallels the restlessness of the '60's. Much of the multi-media equipment, such as hanging sound-domes, columns and multi-track stereo speakers, was created especially for the "Harlem On My Mind" exhibition with the participation of Acoustic Research, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Included among the technical innovations of the "Harlem On My Mind" installation are the development of a chronological sound track accompanying the visual material throughout the exhibition; directional speakers channeling isolated sound to a particular gallery area; and some of the largest photo-murals ever created for a museum exhibition, such as the 14-foot by 52-foot mural of the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. with his Sunday school class.
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