Spiral, founded in 1963 by Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Charles Alston, was a group of black American artists in New York. This group has been credited with fostering Bearden’s entry into collage, launching a debate around the political function of abstraction and figuration, and incubating the early careers of Emma Amos and others. This essay looks at how Spiral’s trip to the March on Washington and its only exhibition demonstrate a lack of aesthetic and social cohesion in the group’s main collective activities, making it a typical example of post-1945 art collectives.

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