The Revolution is Now on Display
It's winter in America… Early 1970s New York…
And poet Gil Scott-Heron stands smoking a cigarette on the corner of 125th and Lenox.
He is an angry young black man who has just written a poem called "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." He has a beard and an afro, wears old clothes, and clenches his fist high above his head between drags on his cigarette to shout at the people gathered around him…
"The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John Mitchell…"
Later Gil decides to record his poem over a funk track consisting of conga and bongo drums. He becomes a jazz-poet and political activist. In 1973 he writes an album called Winter in America, his first break-through, and contacts Eugene Coles, a painter, to do the album cover…
Coles's painting is a colorful, compelling snapshot of African-Americana in the years following the death of MLK.
MLK had said: "I have a dream…"
But on April 4, 1968, he was shot on the balcony of his motel in Memphis, and the dream was shattered – making poet Gil Scott-Heron wonder: Who will carry your message now?
Who will get up from the armchair and turn off the television, to rush outside and launch the revolution of civil rights?
Eugene Coles describes this mental disintegration in his painting, Winter in America, a colossal four-by-eight-foot work now on display at Sub-Basement Artist Studios…
For twenty-five years Coles has struggled to understand the political chaos left behind by MLK's assassination…
He has taken the great man's dream and painted its very anatomy – putting onto canvas the surrealistic fragments of imagination, hope, and fear, all mixed together and left to rot like so many crushed figs on the grass in summer.
Opening of Coles's show: April 8th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
There you'll find over twenty-five years of his work: the anatomy of a dream he and many other African-American artists, like poet Gil Scott-Heron, are still investigating…
It's true: The revolution has not been televised… but for the month of April, you can at least see a piece of it at Sub-Basement Artist Studios.
Gallery hours: Saturday 11-6 pm & by appointment
Studio visits: by appointment
VIP Parking available with appointment