MOMA and Charles

In 1956 the Museum of Modern Art had an artist call. Five thousand entries answered that call. From those entries, 150 works were chosen. On April 24, 1956, a Gala was thrown for collectors and artists alike. Was Charles present? No. Charles Keeling Lassiter had agoraphobia. At the time he was 30 years old. He was however featured as an emerging new artist in the collection.

Some of the most prominent people in art and industry did attend. The guest list included John Whitney, Nelson A Rockefeller, Edsel Ford, Simon Guggenheim and so many more. The exhibit and Gala took two years to plan and the night was set to introduce the best Recent Works of black and white art to buyers and collectors.

Playing music was Teo Macero. At the time he was 31 and had been on the cutting edge of the Jazz scene for 2 years. Macero released "What's New" with Bob Prince in 1956 through Columbia.

The sounds you hear on What's New is some of the same music that played that night. Macero had just signed Charles Mingus and was soon to sign Thelonious Monk, Later he worked with Dave Brubeck, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett and most famously Miles Davis

Most of the artist in this exhibit were newly discovered by this artist call. There were a few known artist that joined the call and were exhibited. Artist priced their own work, so pieces ranged in price the average was $75.

This relationship with MOMA didn't end at this exhibit, nor was this the last time that Lassiter found his art on the wall of a major modern art exhibit wall. Charles Lassiter is permanently featured at MOMA "The Lowest Possible Lament" - 1974 and has pieces in Museums worldwide.