Vincent Smith was known for his works of art that combine stylized abstraction with social realism and African culture. It is not unlikely that Smith’s The Movers and The Shakers refers to Smith’s personal experience. In a 1980 interview with the National Scene Magazine, Smith recounts how Black artists were unwelcomed in the traditional New York art scene and how he felt inspired to evoke change:
“We were young pioneers on the brink of new discoveries…We were going to be the movers and the shakers. We went through the hallowed halls of these museums, these enclaves of idolatry, western civilization and American art, and we didn’t see anything reflect the black experience or black contribution to American culture. We knew that we were going to be scorned and ridiculed. We also knew that our achievements were going to have to take…knowledge and skill… Every fiber in our bodies was alive, man!”
Title: The Movers and The Shakers
Artist: Vincent Smith (1929 – 2003)
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 40 ½ x 30 ½ inches
Accession Number: H77.69
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