Thursday, December 29, 2016

Phillips Collection Holiday Exhibitions: Jacob Lawrence and Whitfield Lovell

After lunch, I went over the Phillips Collection since I was in the neighborhood and visited some old friends in their collection and toured a pair of exhibits that are about to close. 

The first was the complete works of Jacob Lawrence's Migration series. His iconic rendering of the movement of African Americans from the rural south to the industrial north and west coast. The museum owns part of the series and usually has it on desplay, to see all 60 in one place gives the individuals works a collective significance not unlike those hundreds of thousands of Black Americans risking the unknown in search of a better life. 

A last little gallery contained half a dozen contemporary works inspired by the series. This is where the little print of the lynched man was--chilling. 

The other special exhibition was an exhibition of the works of Whitfield Lovell from his Kins series and related works. I first encountered Lovell back in March at the Seattle Art Museum with two of his works on display in their recent acquisitions gallery. He combines beautifully rendered portraits with common and profound objects. Some works are done on "found" wood. While admiring one of this works an African American couple standing nearby were discussing it, when the man just said, "Why have I never heard of this artist before?" And I thought the same thing.

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