Collection Of Artworks From Melvin Van Peeples’s Blue Room On View At Sugar Hill Museum In Harlem

September 25, 2022

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling is presenting two fall exhibitions: MVP: A Selection of Sculptures From Melvin Van Peebles’s Blue Room and the group exhibit Combinations, both curated by Damien Davis and Alaina Simone.

Sugar Hill Museum is a contemporary art museum that happens to be for kids. MVP: A Selection of Sculptures From Melvin Van Peebles’s Blue Room showcases this unique crossover due to his childlike sense of wonder that he used to explore and understand the world around him.

Two days ago marked one year of his passing– this exhibition is a celebration of his wondrous and full life.

MVP: A Selection of Sculptures From Melvin Van Peebles’s Blue Room, showcases the collection of artworks that the iconic filmmaker created (and lived with) in the living room of his Hell’s Kitchen apartment, which was affectionately referred to as the “Blue Room.” 

The Blue Room served simultaneously as a source of Melvin’s inspiration, and an amalgamation of his childlike state of curiosity and creativity.

Similar to Matisse’s “The Red Studio,” his blue-walled apartment was filled with a myriad of odd, yet somewhat functional objects.

From the back end of a Volkswagen that doubles as a filing cabinet to a giant sculpture of a hot dog, the artist’s joie de youth saturated his life with whimsy and wonder.

As an extraordinary individual who kept a child-like sense of openness and curiosity to the world around him, the exhibition features a recreation of Melvin’s living room (The Blue Room) with original objects from his home.

Images of the living room were photographed by artist Lyle Ashton Harris and featured in a New York Times article from December 3, 2021, which was a major inspiration for the vision of this exhibition.

“He had this fanciful, wily sense of humor, and a love of the everyday,” shares Mario Van Peebles, filmmaker, actor, and son of the artist. “He would sit in the Blue Room and look out through the windows onto the wonderful view on the street and watch the light play across. He passed away in that apartment — he wanted to be back in a space he had created and enjoyed, in which he’d given birth to so many of his projects.”

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, 898 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10032, 212.335.0004,

Photo credit: Melvin Van Peebles.

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