Please join us for an intimate conversation with Melvin Van Peebles as part of the exhibition, eMerge 2.0: Melvin Van Peebles & Artists on the Cusp. Van Peebles will discuss his visual art debut, legendary career and his private art collection including paintings by George Helton, deceased husband of Isabel Taylor Helton, designer of Van Peebles’ museum-like Manhattan apartment, which is home to the paintings, illustrations, and sculptures he’s completed over the years.
About Melvin Van Peebles
Though primarily known as a the father of blaxploitation (1971’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is recognized as African-American cinema’s opening salvo) and independent film as a whole, Van Peebles has tried – and succeeded at – pretty much every type of artistic endeavor one can think of. He was even a Wall Street trader and New York news commentator.
As a playwright and Broadway composer, he earned two Tony Award nominations for “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death” and “Don’t Play Us Cheap.” As an actor, he’s appeared in several films, including Robert Altman’s O.C. and Stiggs and Mario Van Peebles’ Panther, which he wrote and co-produced. He’s also been honored with numerous other awards, including a Grammy and a Drama Desk Award. Additionally, he received the Children’s Live-Action Humanitas Prize for The Day They Came to Arrest the Book and, in 1999, was awarded the Chicago Underground Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, Van Peebles was the subject of an acclaimed documentary entitled How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It).