No. 460: Nzinga Simmons, Jacob Lawrence

Episode No. 460 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features critic Nzinga Simmons and curator Elizabeth Turner.

While the program generally takes the last two weeks of summer off, this week the program starts with a conversation between critic Nzinga Simmons and host Tyler Green about Amy Sherald’s new painting of Breonna Taylor as presented on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Simmons is a PhD candidate in art history and visual culture at Duke University. She was also the inaugural Tina Dunkley Curatorial Fellow in American Art at the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and at the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was fatally shot fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove on March 13. As of this taping, her killers have not been arrested or charged with any crime.

Sherald was previously a guest on Episode No. 379.

Along with Austen Barron Bailly, Turner is the co-curator of “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle.” The exhibition, which debuted at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York today (to members), and on August 29 (to the general public). It will be at the Met through November 1. The Metropolitan presentation was led by Randall Griffey and Sylvia Yount.

“The American Struggle” presents Lawrence’s 1954-56 series “Struggle: From the History of the American People.” The paintings offer a revisionist and pictorial history of the first five decades of the American republic, or what Lawrence called “the struggles of a people to create a nation and their attempt to build a democracy.” The exhibition marks the first time in more than 60 years that the paintings have been together. The excellent catalogue was published by University of Washington Press. Amazon offers it for $30.

For images, see Episode No. 435.

Instagram: Nzinga Simmons, Tyler Green.

Air date: August 27, 2020.

Vanity Fair cover, September 2020

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