Entertainer Bill Cosby, left, and his wife Camille share a laugh as they tell a story about collecting one of the pieces in the upcoming exhibit(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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Everybody knows Bill Cosby's humor, but the comedian has kept his artistic tastes close at home. Now the extensive art collection of Bill and Camille Cosby is open to the public for the first time at the Smithsonian Institution, revealing some works by African-American artists that until now have been seen only by family and friends. The Cosbys started purchasing works by artist Charles White and almost immediately got hooked on collecting.Bill Cosby featured paintings by black artists on the set of his early TV sitcom "The Bill Cosby Show" where he played Chet Kincaid. Later, he included African-American art on the walls of the Huxtables' living room in "The Cosby Show" series. The family also collected works by emerging artists and noted artists, including works by Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence and Faith Ringgold.Much of the time, that quilt still covers their bed at home, Bill Cosby said.Curators said they looked for the best works from the Cosbys and powerful pieces from the Smithsonian's African art collection to pair works by black artists from two continents.
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