Schoener, Allon

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Allon Schoener (1926- )is an independent curator and historian in New York, N.Y. and Los Angeles, Calif.

From the description of Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1965-2009. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 613316798

From the description of Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1966-2009. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 744436596

Allon Schoener (1926- ) is an independent curator and historian in New York, N.Y. and Los Angeles, Calif.

From the description of Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1966-2007. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 756821104

Designer, consultant; Grafton, Vt. Born in 1926.

From the description of Allon Schoener interview, 1971. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220189978

Allon Schoener (b.1926) is a writer, cultural historian, consultant, and organizer of exhibitions that focus on topics such as African Americans, Italian Americans, Jewish Americans, and the history of the Lower East Side. His best known exhibition was the highly controversial show "Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America." A graduate of Yale University, he currently lives in Los Angeles.

"Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America 1900-1968" was a 1969 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art organized by Allon Schoener. The exhibition documented life in Harlem through the use of photographs, film and audio recordings. It was created under the directorship of Thomas Hoving and contributed to the exhibition model commonly known as the "blockbuster" show.

At the time, the exhibition was much reviled, having received harsh criticism from critics, politicians, and the public alike. The initial spark was an essay in the accompanying book by 17-year-old Harlem high school student Candice Van Ellison. The essay contained prejudicial remarks about members of the Jewish, Irish and Puerto Rican communities. The book was quickly removed from the Museum and pulled from bookshelves by the publisher.

Additional criticism focused on several key issues, including the exhibition's multimedia platform; the lack of paintings and sculptures, particularly by African-American artists; and a thematic presentation that used documentary techniques that focused on sociological and cultural issues. Such criticism was compounded by the Harlem Cultural Council's withdrawal of support.

Schoener wrote that the objective of the exhibition was to "demonstrate that the black community in Harlem is a major cultural environment with enormous strength and potential? that this community has made major contributions to the mainstream of American culture in music, theater and literature." The exhibition documented Harlem from its beginnings in the early 20th century as a prosperous white neighborhood, through the influx of southern African-Americans, up to the civil rights movements of the late 1960s.

After the original exhibition ended, Schoener spent the next several decades working intermittently on re-creations of the exhibition, some of which failed to see fruition. Others succeeded, culminating as shows at Columbia University and the I. P. Stanback Museum. Schoener participated in numerous panel discussions, events and conferences, including the Schomburg Center and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

His book, Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America, was reissued after a prolonged struggle to obtain the rights from its original publisher. Editions were published in 1979, 1995 and 2007, with forewords by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and U.S. Congressman Charles B. Rangel.

From the guide to the Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1966-2007, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Schoener, Allon. Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1966-2009. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Schoener, Allon. Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1965-2009. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Lotringer, Sylvère. Sylvere Lotringer Papers and Semiotext(e) Archive 1960-2000 (Bulk 1973-2000). New York University, Fales Collection
creatorOf Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1966-2007 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn R. Buckminster Fuller papers, ca. 1920-1983 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Schoener, Allon. Schoener, Allon : [photography bio file]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Schoener, Allon. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976. Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Schoener, Allon. Harlem on My Mind exhibition records, 1966-2007. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Sylvere Lotringer Papers and Semiotext(e) Archive, Bulk, 1973-2000, 1960-2000 Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Schoener, Allon. Allon Schoener interview, 1971. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976. Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Columbia University. corporateBody
associatedWith Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976. person
associatedWith Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983 person
associatedWith Hoving, Thomas, 1931- person
associatedWith Imogen Cunningham person
associatedWith I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium. corporateBody
associatedWith Lotringer, Sylvère person
associatedWith Lotringer, Sylvère. person
associatedWith Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith New York State Council on the Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Raikin, Laurin person
associatedWith Rangel, Charles B. person
associatedWith Van Ellison, Candace person
associatedWith Van Ellison, Candace. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
Vermont
Subject
Designers--Interviews
Art, American
African American artists
Occupation
Photographers
Function

Person

Birth 1900

Americans

English

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