And what of “collapse,” the term that follows on the heels of “conjure” in my title? I will spare the reader the dictionary definition, not to worry. But I do intend something specific in using the term, for by collapse I do not mean failure or breakdown; rather, I want to evoke another sort of dismantling or giving way. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) opens with the following lines: “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass.…That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact. A matter of the construction of their inner eyes, those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality.” 17 In 1966, in response to a question from a journalist, Bearden declared that “Western society, and particularly that of America, is gravely ill and a major symptom is the American treatment of the Negro.” 18 In a world where not just eyes, but the very mechanism of cognition—the inner perceptual apparatus by which humans come to know and to judge—was subject to dysfunction and the social body as a whole was stricken with disease, nothing but a literal collapse, a dismantling of old ways of seeing and knowing, and a piecing together of new modes of perception and being, would suffice. Such a collapse, to Bearden’s mind, was something art, and collage in particular, could help to conjure.