Bill Cosby to loan art collection to Smithsonian

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Bill Cosby to loan art collection - Smithsonian
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Bill Cosby to loan art collection to Smithsonian
This Nov. 18, 2013 photo shows actor-comedian Bill Cosby in New York. Netflix is announcing performances by Cosby and other comedians set to roll out this fall. It's the latest in the original-content initiative from this subscription Internet channel. Taped July 12 at the San Francisco Jazz Center, "Bill Cosby 77," is an hour-plus of comedy dealing with such topics as relationships, marriage and kids. It premieres on Nov. 28. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)
This undated handout image provided by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art and part of their collection, shows an oil on canvas work by Gerard Sekoto, entitled Boy and the Candle. The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art says Monday that the entire William H. and Camille O. Cosby Collection will go on view in November in an exhibit juxtaposing African-American art with African art. (AP Photo/Smithsonian Institution)
This undated handout image provided by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art and part of the William H. and Camille O. Cosby Collection, shows an oil on canvas work by Henry Ossawa Tanner, entitled The Thankful Poor. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art says Monday that the entire William H. and Camille O. Cosby Collection will go on view in November in an exhibit juxtaposing African-American art with African art. (AP Photo/Smithsonian Institution)
Bill Cosby attends the CASA/LA Evening to Foster Dreams Gala at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for Casa/LA/AP)
Bill Cosby appears at Hard Rock Live at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on May 12, 2013 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP)
Comedian Bill Cosby delivers a ceremonial first pitch prior to a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Entertainer Bill Cosby stands before he starts youth races on the infield during the Penn Relays athletics meet Friday, April 27, 2012 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Comedian Bill Cosby at Temple University's commencement Thursday, May 12, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
FILE - In this April 6, 2011 file photo, Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action NetworkÌs Keepers of the Dream Awards Gala in New York. Cosby says the debate over the killing of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer should be focused on guns, not race. In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" aired Sunday, April 15, 2012, Cosby said calling George Zimmerman a racist doesn't solve anything. Cosby says the bigger question is what Zimmerman was doing with a gun, and who taught him how to behave with it. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
FILE - In a Saturday, June 20, 2009 file photo, Bill Cosby speaks after receiving the MLB Beacon of Hope award in Cincinnati. Cosby will receive the nation's top humor prize at a cereremony on Oct. 26, 2009 at the the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the the center announced Thursday, Aug. 19, 2009. Jerry Seinfeld will be joined by Chris Rock, "Cosby" co-stars Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and others in honoring Cosby with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. (AP Photo/David Kohl, File)
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By BRETT ZONGKER

WASHINGTON (AP) - After amassing a private collection of African-American Art over four decades, Bill Cosby and his wife Camille plan to showcase their holdings for the first time in an exhibition planned at the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art announced Monday that the entire Cosby collection will go on view in November in a unique exhibit juxtaposing African-American art with African art.

The collection, which will be loaned to the museum, includes works by such leading African-American artists as Beauford Delaney, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Augusta Savage and Henry Ossawa Tanner. The Cosby collection of more than 300 African-American paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings has never been loaned or seen publicly, except for one work of art.

"It's so important to show art by African-American artists in this exhibition," Cosby said in a written statement. "To me, it's a way for people to see what exists and to give voice to many of these artists who were silenced for so long, some of whom will speak no more."

Cosby, 77, is a comedian, actor and author best known for the smash hit TV show he crafted, "The Cosby Show," which aired on NBC from 1984 to 1992. The groundbreaking show featured a successful black family. He later starred in a CBS sitcom and is now in talks with NBC for a new extended-family sitcom with Cosby as the patriarch. The new project could air in 2015.

The exhibit "Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue" will open Nov. 9 and will be on view through early 2016 in Washington. It will be organized by themes, placing pieces from African artists in the Smithsonian collection near similar works from African-American artists in Cosby's collection. Curators said it will explore ideas about history, creativity, power, identity and artistry.

Some highlights include rare 18th and early 19th-century portraits by Baltimore-based artist Joshua Johnston, explorations of black spirituality in the 1894 piece "The Thankful Poor" by Henry Ossawa Tanner and Cosby family quilts.

"The exhibition will encourage all of us to draw from the creativity that is Africa, to recognize the shared history that inextricably links Africa and the African diaspora and to seek the common threads that weave our stories together," said Museum Director Johnnetta Betsch Cole, in announcing the exhibit.

The exhibition of Cosby's collection is part of the African art museum's 50th anniversary.

More information about the National Museum of African Art: http://africa.si.edu/

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