The Wallach Art Gallery presented its first ever summer exhibition Uptown—a new triennial in 2017.  With Uptown, the new Wallach Art Gallery on 125th Street joined northern Manhattan’s vibrant art scene and celebrated the neighborhood long at the vanguard in nurturing vital, internationally recognized art. The second iteration Uptown Triennial 2020, timed with the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance will present works by contemporary artists who have been inspired by or who comment on the creative strategies of this important expression of modernism. Contemporary works will be exhibited alongside several historical works. Our goal is to find a meaningful convergence of a significant moment in Harlem’s history and the vitality of current artistic practices that embrace the aesthetics, style, temperament, and attitudes.

Several exemplary objects from the Harlem Renaissance will make up the historical component of the Uptown 2020 exhibition. The murals, painting, sculpture, photography, literature, and music from the Harlem Renaissance that comprise the core of Uptown 2020  are notable and generous and offer possibilities for a broad range of responses. Among thes works are Alain Locke's seminal publication of The New Negro; an early edition God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson and illustrated by Aaron Douglas, in which inspirational sermons of African American preachers are reimagined as poetry, reverberating with the musicality and religious oratory of the spirituals; Harlem Hospital WPA murals by Charles Alston, Alfred Crimi, Vertis Hayes, and Georgette Seabrooke; a sculpture by Augusta Savage, and a photograph by James Van Der Zee. The rise of jazz music during the era of the Harlem Renaisance will be explored via a tableau of sound recordings, photographs, and a set model by Joseph Urban for the 1929 Ziegfeld Theatre production of Show Girl featuring Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra.

A complete list of participating contemporary artists will be released shortly.


"The New Negro" edited by Alain Locke will be one of the core historical objects on view in "Uptown 2020." Above: (left) cover of the first edition, (right) interior portrait drawing of the author/editor by Winold Reiss.



The Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University is pleased to present Uptown, a new triennial surveying the work of artists who live or practice north of 99th Street.

Kabuya Pamela Bowens-Saffo. "Tracks & Bridges” (detail), 2019-2020. Mixed-media collage; 18 X 24 inches. Photo by William Cordova

FALL 2020

Next Exhibition
Late 2020 / Early 2021