Jacob Lawrence & The Artists of Black Orpheus
September 15, 2022 — January 8, 2023
Special Exhibition Galleries
Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917 – 2000), Market Scene, 1966, Gouache on paper, Chrysler Museum of Art, © Jacob Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
This Chrysler-curated exhibition will explore the connection between African American artist Jacob Lawrence and his contemporaries based on the African continent during a period of artistic innovation that emerged from sociopolitical upheaval. The Mbari Artists & Writers Club was an artistic organization of continental African-based artists, writers, and dramatists promoting modern African artistic practice. The core of the exhibition centers on the Mbari arts and culture magazine Black Orpheus (1957–67). The publication was one of the main vehicles for circulating fictional and non-fictional writings by African and African Diaspora writers and reviews of predominately African and African Diaspora visual artists.
Transcontinental Modernism features Lawrence’s little-known 1964–65 Nigeria series as well as the artists featured in Black Orpheus. The exhibition will address how different international artists of color grappled with representing their respective national and cultural identities while depicting visually striking works that both resonated with local communities and connected with broader Eurocentric notions of modernity.