Lynn Sanders speaks at Jacob Lawrence Struggle Series Symposium

April 14, 2016

Lynn Sanders will be on a panel examining the works of Jacob Lawrence, an African American artist from Harlem, primarily known for his work which he termed dynamic cubism. Lynn, a painter as well as political scientist, uses art in her classes as a part of understanding politics. She reads a painting through subject, metaphor, symbol, color, and context—standard tools in art history, but a quite different lens for studying social science. The McIntire Department of Art and the Fralin Museum are co-sponsors in the event. See details of their schedule below.


All events will take place the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Auditorium, unless otherwise noted

Thursday, April 14, 2016

6:00 pm: Reception (The Fralin Museum of Art)

6:15 pm: Welcome
6:30 pm: Poetry performance by University of Virginia students

Friday, April 15, 2016

8:15 am:  Coffee + Conversation

9:00 am: Session I
Welcome: Elizabeth Hutton Turner, University Professor, Modern Art, University of Virginia; Introduction: Andrea Douglas, Executive Director, Charlottesville’s Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

Personalizing Jacob Lawrence’s Self Portrait within Struggle

David Driskell, The David C. Driskell Center for Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora

The talk will center on Lawrence’s personal portrayal of the African American experience as reflected in his painting entitled The Struggle.

10:00 am:  BREAK

10:15 am: Session II

Introduction: Deborah McDowell, Alice Griffin Professor, Department of English and Director of the Carter G. Woodson Center, University of Virginia

I Hope I Transcend the Strictly Parochial: Painting Resistance as a Universal Trope 

Sandy Alexandre, Associate Professor, Literature, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This talk will constitute an effort to answer the following question: What does it look like to attempt to justify the breaking point of oppressed black people to those who fear it or who cannot even fathom its possibility? Ultimately, I hope to demonstrate how Lawrence’s paintings in the series concatenate to suggest that violence is not only the province of us all, but that it is also necessarily our inheritance as an American people.

Leslie King-Hammond, Graduate Dean Emeritus and Founding Director of the Center for            Race and Culture, Maryland Institute College of Art

11:45 am:  Q & A – Lisa Woolfork, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Virginia

12:15 pm: LUNCH BREAK

2:00 pm: Session III

Introduction: Christa Noel Robbins, Assistant Professor, Department of Art, University of Virginia

Shilpa S. Davé, Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, University of Virginia

Theresa M. Davis, Associate Professor of Cross Cultural Performance, Department of Drama, University of Virginia

Carmenita Higginbotham, Associate Professor, American Art and Culture, Department of Art and American Studies Program, University of Virginia

M. Jordan Love, Academic Curator, The Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia

Lynn M. Sanders, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

2:45 pm: BREAK

3:00 pm: Session IV

Introduction: Carmenita Higginbotham, Associate Professor, American Art and Culture, Department of Art and American Studies Program, University of Virginia

History as Symbols of Struggle:  Jacob Lawrence Chronicles a Revisionist History of        America

Patricia Hills, Professor Emerita, American Art and African American Art, Boston             University

In 1954 Lawrence applied to the Guggenheim Foundation for funds to complete an         ambitious eighty-panel history of the United States from 1607 to 1918. Although he         completed only thirty panels, he succeeded in presenting a revisionist, “bottom-up” version of history in which heroic actions are performed and sustained by ordinary   people.

4:15 pm:  Q & A – Elizabeth Hutton Turner, University Professor, Modern Art, University of Virginia

*We encourage visitors to also view the Jacob Lawrence exhibitions at The Fralin Museum of Art and the Special Collections Library.

This exhibition and symposium is supported by the Page-Barbour Fund, The McIntire Department of Art, Mr. Harvey Ross, The Jacob Lawrence Foundation, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at UVa, the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture, the Corcoran Department of History, and the Arts Council.

Two exhibitions featuring Jacob Lawrence and his work are displayed at the Fralin Museum and Small Special Collections Library.

Jacob Lawrence