Manage episode 274623578 series 1570276
The exhibit Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle is an American epic--depicting moments in early American history from 1775 thru 1817--some well-known, others not-- often seen through the eyes of marginalized peoples. Struggle consists of 30 panels painted by Lawrence during the early 1950s during Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare and the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. Lawrence is well-known for painting the everyday life as well as epic narratives of African-American history and historical figures—think of The Migration Series. But with Struggle, Jacob Lawrence presented a radically integrated view of early American history—one in which African-Americans and Native Americans were woven into heart of the nation’s story. Yet, Lawrence also incorporates their particular struggles into the work as he examines the messy work of making a democracy. The exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle reunites most of the 30 panels in the series for the first times in over 60 years. Organized by and first exhibited at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts, it is now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art–with support from the National Endowment for the Arts--where it was co-curated by Sylvia Yount, Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing and Randall Griffey a Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Sylvia Yount and Randall Griffey join me for a deep-dive into the work of Jacob Lawrence in general and Struggle in particular, his great belief in the past as critical to the present, and the ways that the work of Jacob Lawrence continues to shed light on the moment we find ourselves.