Medium: ink on paper

Signature: letters signed


8 x 11 sheets, framed


Two framed letters from Bearden, one discussing work he is completing in various cities and his work on the sets for the Alvin Ailey company's production of The Stack-Up, and also discussing the pigeons he feeds in his studio, with a drawing of a pair of pigeons. The other letter discusses the tile mural for the Pittsburgh subway system, with a drawing of the mural, subway cars and passengers.



New York Times Review of "The Stack-Up." 

The Dance: 'The Stack-Up'
By Jack Anderson
Published: December 21, 1987


TALLEY BEATTY took the title of ''The Stack-Up'' from a phrase that can mean freeway congestion. Nevertheless, his work, which the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed Saturday afternoon at the City Center, 131 West 55th Street, and will repeat on Tuesday evening, concerns emotional, rather than highway, traffic.

The moment the curtain rises one knows where one is, thanks to a handsome setting, adapted from a painting by Romare Bearden. One beholds a river, a bridge and the buildings of a city, and the glowing colors suggest that evening has come and lights have been turned on.

But the way the cast moves makes it clear this is a hot summer night when passions are strong and tempers are fierce. ''The Stack-Up'' is danced to recorded instrumental and vocal pieces performed by Earth, Wind and Fire, Grover Washington Jr., the Fearless Four and Alphonze Mouzon, and Mr. Beatty's restless choreography makes dancers hurtle across the stage in an almost compulsive way. The pace seldom slackens and the conclusion is a nightmarish frenzy.

Gestures suggesting drug addiction contribute to the work's ominousness. And, although ''The Stack-Up'' is not a conventionally dramatic work, it does possess a hint of a plot, as it shows a young woman and two men rushing toward ruin. As the woman, Debora Chase appeared to be caught up by forces she could not control, and the men, Andre Tyson and Rodney Nugent, danced ferociously.

What was notable about their performances and those of the rest of the cast was the fact that, even though the choreography is spectacular, no one emphasized technical display for its own sake. One always believed these were troubled people in teeming streets.

The program also included repeat performances of ''Speeds'' and ''Night Shade.''

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Other works by Romare Bearden