By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Museum of Art has put together a new exhibit that highlights the African American art it’s collected over the past century.

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Titled “Represent: 200 years of African American Art,” the exhibit is comprised of 75 objects from 50 African American artists, including more than a dozen from Philadelphia.

“We have Moe Brooker, we have Barbara Chase-Riboud who was born in this city,” says John Vick, organizing curator. He says the exhibit includes sculptures, photographs, abstract paintings, portraits and more by artists like Horace Pippin, Jacob Lawrence, Barkley Hendricks and others.

“These are artists who in many ways, sometimes very subtlety, sometimes very provocatively, engage with the history of race — race as a social construct and how images of race are represented in anything from fine art to popular culture,” says Vick.

John Vick discussing the exhibit. Dr. Shaw is on his immediate left. (Credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW)

Organizing curator John Vick discusses the exhibit. Dr. Gwendolyn Dubois-Shaw, consulting curator, is on his immediate left. (Credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW)

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CEO Timothy Rub says the exhibit includes just a fraction of the 750 pieces in the Museum’s African American collection and is actually the result of years of compiling an extensive catalog comprised of selected survey of museum’s holdings.

“It has always been one of the most cherished wishes of our African American Art Collection committee that we share this collection,” says Rub. “Opportunities like this are ways of not simply sharing our collection but putting works of art in conversation with each other in new ways.”

Highlights include Barbara Chase-Riboud’s abstract bronze and textile sculpture titled, “Malcolm X#3.”  It also includes more controversial pieces by artists Kara Walker.

The exhibit, "Malcom X#3" on display at the Art Museum. (Credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW)

The exhibit, “Malcom X#3” on display at the Art Museum. (Credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW)

“We have few African American artists whose names we know… much fewer than their white counter-parts,” says Dr. Gwendolyn Dubois-Shaw, consulting curator. “This museum has a really wonderful collection of artists like Henry Ossawa Tanner, for example, and with this general trend towards contemporary art people really forget that we have all of this history.”

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The exhibit also features recorded interviews with several artists. Represent Opens January 16th and runs through April 2015.  Details on additional programming is available at philamuseum.org.

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