Allon Schoener, 95, Dies; Curator Caught in Furor Over ‘Harlem’ Show

Must read


In 1995, when the Met published a new edition of the “Harlem on My Mind” catalog, Mr. Schoener was heartened to discover that the show was being reconsidered. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem organized an event commemorating its release, and the historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in the introduction that the catalog “remains, even a quarter century later, one of the richest and most comprehensive records of the history of the African-American in the twentieth century.”

The reissue prompted Michael Kimmelman of The Times to reflect on the show, “The pity,” he wrote, “is that ‘Harlem on My Mind,’ as you can glean from the reprinted catalog, had its strengths. It was a celebratory exhibition at heart.”

Allon Theodore Schoener was born on Jan. 1, 1926, in Cleveland. His father, Harry, ran a trouser factory. His mother, Ida (Finkelstein) Schoener, was a homemaker. Both his maternal and paternal grandparents arrived at Ellis Island from Lithuania and settled on the Lower East Side.

Allon studied art history at Yale in 1946 and then attended the Courtauld Institute of Art in London before returning to Yale for his master’s degree in 1949. He went on to became a curator for the San Francisco Museum of Art and, in 1955, director of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. He married Mary Heimsath a year later. Mr. Schoener moved to New York in the 1960s to join the Jewish Museum and the New York State Council on the Arts.

In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, Rebecca.

Mr. Schoener retired to Los Angeles in 2010. Fiercely political, he was attuned to the roiling conversation about race in America, and he watched as controversies not unlike the one he faced in 1969 started engulfing museums with regularity.

Last year, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York canceled a show after artists of color objected to the museum’s obtaining their work through discounted sales, intended to benefit racial justice charities, without properly compensating them. And the American Museum of Natural History agreed to remove a statue of Theodore Roosevelt — in which he is portrayed astride a horse flanked by a Native American and an African man — from outside its entrance in response to protests condemning it as a colonialist symbol.


- Advertisement -

Amir Khan says he was escorted from US flight ‘for no reason’ | UK...

British boxer Amir Khan has said he was escorted from a flight in the US by police “for no reason”.The 34-year-old, who has...

Arts, music featured at Franklin Park event

Yaw Asamoah of Dublin was born in the West African nation of Ghana but has lived in central Ohio for 20 years.He retains a...

Amber list scrapped in England travel shake-up | News

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has announced a simplified system for international travel from the UK. He argued the move was possible in light of...

Peter Williams, Who Painted the Black Experience, Dies at 69

Peter Williams, whose colorful paintings — sometimes humorous, sometimes disturbing, often both — reflected his own history, Black history and contemporary issues like...

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Covid - 19

Covid Update