Elevate at 21c presents temporary exhibitions of works by artists living and working in the communities surrounding Kansas City. Elevate provides hotel guests with unique access to the work of notable regional artists while featuring their work in the context of 21c’s contemporary art space.
21c Kansas City is thrilled to welcome 6 artworks by Kansas City native, Harold Smith. These pieces are on view to the public in The Savoy Lounge.
The Man of Color Series explores the complexities of black masculinity in America and artist Harold Smith states, “I think the media sometimes creates polarizing imagery of Black men. Either you are an Obama, or you are a thug. In my opinion, regular, hard-working, simple, Black men are an ignored group. They are the new ‘invisible man.’ ”
The paintings of Harold Smith have been characterized by the poet, Glenn North, “Harold Smith’s artwork captures the immeasurable pain and unfathomable joy of the Black experience. His exuberant use of color, his technical mastery of visual improvisation (can you say jazz?), and his profound contemplation of subject matter make his work stunningly unique and necessary. His current exploration of ‘Black on Black’ – a use of only black paint to create textured portraits of Black men – is at once an incredible demonstration of technique and a searing commentary on race relations in America. Harold Smith is a man for our times and an artist worthy of international recognition.”
In 2022, Harold Smith was awarded a three-year Studios Inc Residency in Kansas City and is one of three artists that received the Charlotte Street Visual Artists Award. In addition, he received a prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and an artist’s residency at MacDowell in New Hampshire. In 2021, Smith was included in the important exhibition, Testament, at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO. In 2019, Smith’s solo exhibition, Can You See Me? was presented at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS. Smith is also a film-maker and respected writer with numerous articles published in KC Studio Magazine. His work is in the permanent collection of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and other private collections. Smith is represented by Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO.