Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance After a while, you can't help but think that too much time in Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (PBS, Feb. 16,… Documentary
TV Review

Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance

Details Genre: Documentary

After a while, you can't help but think that too much time in Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (PBS, Feb. 16, 10-11 p.m.) is spent decrying the racism that made African-American artists' lives difficult in the 1920s and '30s, and not enough in displaying and appreciating the art they created. Despite its being a visual medium, television has done little to acquaint us with the fine arts-and this is particularly true in the matter of minority artists. Against the Odds would have made its points about art-world racism most effectively simply by exposing us to as many first-rate paintings and sculptures by little-known artists as possible. As it is, Against the Odds' brief profiles of sculptor Augusta Savage and painter William Henry Johnson, both previously unknown to me and, I assume, to most viewers, made me want to see more of their work, which is the highest praise that can be offered for this documentary. B-

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Originally posted Feb 18, 1994 Published in issue #210-211 Feb 18, 1994 Order article reprints