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Artist Romare Bearden Reinvents ‘The Odyssey’

Romare Bearden’s Siren’s Song (1977).Image courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

From Joyce to the Coen brothers, lots of artists have tried their hands at reinventing The Odyssey — and now this guy! Harlem-raised (and critically revered) artist Romare Bearden (1921–1988) used statuesque cutouts and bold color fields to aestheticize Homer’s classic tale. The above collage, Siren’s Song, illustrates the women who use song to lure and kill sailors. Maybe it’s their lack of faces, and quasi-androgynous forms, but for homicidal killers, they don’t look so bad. Bearden’s "A Black Odyssey" is at DC Moore Gallery through early 2008. —Rachel Wolff