Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle

In March, the Seattle Art Museum will host a timely exhibition, Jacob Lawrence:  The American Struggle. Best known for his work The Migration Series, Lawrence set his sight on the American Revolution creating a series of 30 painted panels between 1954 and 1956, focusing on historical events occurring from 1775 to 1817. It is interesting to note that Lawrence developed this series during another time of struggle and strife in the country, the Civil Rights era.

The Seattle Art Museum’s show will reunite these works for the first time since 1958.

For some artists, their work is to create visual narratives. Through their work they provide their singular perspective on historical events. Such is the work of Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence brings us to key moments of a history centuries away that, yet, links to the present.

Today, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide of history sweeps over the nation. As you are well aware, we have been visited upon by multiple, simultaneous struggles that have swept us up Against Wind and Tide of forces unforeseen in our lifetime. Continue reading “Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle”

Wintering Over: Art in Shades of Dark and Light

Winter, like life, comes in shades of dark and light. Herein lies the drama of an indispensable duo meant to be seen, in multitudes of splendor, in paintings photographs and drawings.

Let us go into the season with an Invocation of Beauty seeking not, its Genesis but Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico and Antonio Berni’s Juanito and Ramona.

Let us bask in some Remembered Light knowing that The Disappearance of Darkness cannot erase our Night Vision for it is vision we are seeking. It is a widening, expansive vision that we need to see us through. Continue reading “Wintering Over: Art in Shades of Dark and Light”

The Art of Protest: The Language, Music and Images of Civil Discontent

Joining a protest is personal and a public event. People from all ages and all walks of life take to the streets calling for societal change. Throughout history worlds of people have marched, from handfuls to millions with voices raised, through cities and towns.

When The People Speak, heads turn. Everybody is filled with a heightened awareness. What message is being sent? Who is speaking as a shouting crowd of onlookers responds? From a singular voice to multitudes, the sounds of a protest command attention. There is more than one way, however, to be heard.

Artists speak through their work, seeking to capture the tenor of their times. A protest march can be a dramatic affair incorporating music, chants, costumes and signs. A throng of people stride through the center of town, disrupting business, blocking traffic, calling attention to a cause. How do you know they’re coming? Drumbeats and chants sound through the air long before the first row comes into view. Continue reading “The Art of Protest: The Language, Music and Images of Civil Discontent”

Library Podcasts with a Seattle Focus

Last week I highlighted some of the diverse podcasts the library has to offer on it’s website with no library card required. I wanted to discuss some of the other things offered on the Library Podcast page, specifically the variety of discussions on Seattle and Seattle history.

In Fall of 2019, the Library hosted discussions on the hidden history of the Space Needle, including Space Needle Redux: Knute Berger and B.J. Bullert Eye the Needle. Continue reading “Library Podcasts with a Seattle Focus”

Virtual visits: Art collections and experiences online

Uncertainty about safe and healthy travel these days has caused many of our plans to be interrupted or canceled. For hours we had planned itineraries, scheduled exhausting (but fun!) days, and made must-do, must-eat, and must-see lists, but sadly those lists will remain unchecked for now. The strolls we imagined we would take in renowned parks and sites? Not going to happen. All the delicious food we were supposed to enjoy in the quaintest of restaurants and cafés? Still untried. And the paintings, sculptures, and other pieces of art that we planned to visit and study in world-famous museums? Luckily we can see those by virtual means.

Photo of Musee d'Orsay and Pont Royal
Musee d’Orsay and Pont Royal, by Daniel Vorndran / DXR

Continue reading “Virtual visits: Art collections and experiences online”