American Struggle: Teens Respond to Jacob Lawrence

Barbara Earl Thomas (Preface by) Jacob Lawrence (Artist)
& 1 more
Available

Description

"A fresh lens for viewing Jacob Lawrence's art: through the perspective of teens of color. . . . An invaluable resource amplifying marginalized teen voices and conveying Lawrence's relevance to their own lives." --Kirkus Reviews

In the mid-1950s, as Brown v. Board of Education felled the ideology of "separate but equal," the great African-American artist Jacob Lawrence saw the need for a version of American history that reckoned with its complexities and contradictions yet was shared by all its citizens. The result was his monumental work Struggle . . . from the History of the American People.

Lawrence, the best known black American artist of the 20th century, developed the series of thirty panels, each measuring 12 × 16 inches, over the course of two years. Lawrence created the panels as history you could hold in your hands and intended to reproduce the images in a book that he never realized. The paintings depict signal moments in the American Revolution and the early decades of the American republic, and feature the words and actions of founding fathers, enslaved people, women, and Native Americans. In January 2020, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, is mounting the landmark exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle. The show, which unites the panels in one place for the first time in nearly half a century, then travels to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., on a two-year national tour.

In the spirit of Lawrence's project, this collection includes brief interpretive texts written by teens in response to the Struggle series. This illustrated book features a chorus of thirty singular young adult voices expressing how Lawrence and his Struggle series speaks to them on a personal, emotional level. The young writers come from a broad variety of races and ethnicities, nationalities, religions, genders, sexualities, and abilities, and underrepresented voices. As Jacob Lawrence mined American history to reflect upon events he saw happening around him in segregation-era America, these young adults use these panels to comment on their experiences in today's America.

Product Details

Price
$19.95  $18.35
Publisher
Six Foot Press
Publish Date
January 21, 2020
Pages
200
Dimensions
8.3 X 0.6 X 10.0 inches | 1.6 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781644420218
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Jacob Lawrence (1917 - 2000) was an American painter, and the most widely acclaimed African-American artist of the 20th century.

Chul R. Kim is Publisher of Six Foot Press and former Associate Publisher of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He is a longtime editor of scholarly writings, fiction, and nonfiction.

Reviews

"A fresh lens for viewing Jacob Lawrence's art: through the perspective of teens of color. Created in cooperation with seven art institutions, including the Peabody Essex Museum and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, this anthology features teen-authored prose and poetry responses to Lawrence's 30-panel visual narrative, Struggle: From the History of the American People. Some pieces articulate what teens see in the art; in others, the art inspires reflections about their lives. All address the difficulties of growing up minoritized in the U.S....The volume includes all of the Struggle paintings, their original captions, and a brief commentary on each. An invaluable resource amplifying marginalized teen voices and conveying Lawrence's relevance to their own lives."--Kirkus Reviews