Renaissance Fine Art Opens in Harlem

Many years ago, when I too was entering the fashion game, I met Yusuf Rashad who was then honing his craft as a photographer by assisting some of the best in the business, Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz, among them.  In the intervening years there’s been a return to his given name, Curtiss Jacobs, and his career focus has shifted to finance. As our paths diverged we lost touch with each other. Serendipitously, we reconnected last year through a mutual friend.  Catching up on each other’s lives, I was glad to learn that though his has been a very successful shift, his love of the arts still runs deep.

In that spirit he has just launched Renaissance Fine Art (RFA), a Harlem-based art gallery in tribute to his father Joseph David Jacobs, a talented painter. Curator, education consultant and Harlem resident Paula Coleman has come aboard as Gallery Director.  Together they endeavor to:

contribute to the redevelopment and artistic enrichment of Harlem and to participate in Harlem’s ever-growing and dynamic cultural life. RFA will display the works of contemporary painters, sculptors, and photographers, specializing in the works of artists from the Diaspora. In support of other artistic expressions, the gallery will provide a venue for film screenings, book signings, educational workshops, and seminars. RFA will also be available for rentals, artistic salons, private parties, and business meetings. RFA’s mission is to cultivate emerging collectors, provide stellar gallery representation to well-established and emerging artists, and afford individuals and groups with a quaint neighborly space for business and cultural affairs.

I was happy to join the many arts patrons at the well-attended opening last Friday. The premiere exhibition of wonderful work, up through November 14 is “Dark Matters and Entropy,” the seminal series of frescoes from accomplished artist Jack H. White.  Mr. White, whose career spans forty years, explains the influence/inspiration of the series thusly:

This series came about due to my interest in physics and cosmology, indeed as did the two previous series, Galactic Nascence and Galaxy Cluster. The Dark Matter Theory, concerns the need for the universe to have more mass or matter than is visible in order for it to hold together. Something maintains stars in orbit and dictates the motions of galaxies and galaxy clusters. Cosmologists believe that something to be dark matter. What this matter consists of is not yet known. However, “Dark Matter,” matters, if indeed it places order on the universe.

“Entropy,” which means disorder, decay, dissipation, and the breaking down of patterns and structures in nature and the universe, must increase or remain the same. Rusting is associated with an increase in entropy.  With these two concepts in mind and a desire to work with black pigments and oxidized iron, I produced these frescoes, restating my interest in the dualities which most often engender creation.

I found myself particularly riveted by Dark Matters and Entropy #4, a very spare 1999 piece, 78 by 48 inches of dry pigment, oxidized iron, copper and plaster on wood.  Kudos to RFA. I look forward to seeing what other treasures are in store.  Congratulations and best wishes!

All photos from the opening by Salahadeen Betts.


Artist Jack H. White (in his Harlem studio) stands before the most recently completed piece in the series, Dark Matters and Entropy #53, 2006 64″ x 32″ Acrylic, dry pigment, oxidized iron and plaster on canvas.  The same work as part of the exhibition.


RFA owner Curtiss Jacobs with artist, Jack H. White.  Gallery director, Paula Coleman with Walter Greene of New York Carib News.


The beaming gallerist with his wife, Camille and their girls.


Many artists came out in support of one of their own: sculptor, Dr. Lorenzo Pace; painter, Francks Francois Décéus and photographer, Dwight Carter.


The RFA space was filled throughout the evening.

Renaissance Fine Art

2075 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.

(7th Avenue at 124th Street)

New York, NY 10027

212 866 1660

2 Responses

  1. Friday night was a unique opportunity to witness all the potential that Harlem has to offer. Congratulations to Renaissance Fine Art! FFD.

  2. Please add to your mailing list

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