Saturday, October 31, 2020

Last Call: Jacob Lawrence's "American Struggle" series at the Met Museum through November 1, 2020

Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle closes on Sunday, November 1st.  The exhibition, installed while the Metropolitan Museum of Art reestablished its visiting protocols during the long "pandemic  pause" (nearly 6 months), opened on August 29th.  It's a fitting theme for this moment in American history.  We are struggling.  There is no doubt, regardless of where on the political spectrum you believe you belong, we are all struggling in this most miraculous of earthly creations, the United States of America.  

Jacob Lawrence, Victory and Defeat, 1955
 panel 13 in American Struggle series,
1954-56, egg tempera on hard board, 12 x 16 inches
Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. 
© 2020 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photography by Bob Packert / PEM)

Here, for example, the Metropolitan Museum's text panel summarizes the surrender of the British in Yorktown, Virginia, interpreted by Lawrence in his Victory and Defeat, a powerful synthesis of Cubism, abstraction, and social realism. For Hamilton fans, this moment may seem familiar:

"[Jacob] Lawrence depicts an impenetrable wall of twenty-two black cannonballs to symbolize the successful twenty-two-day siege at Yorktown, Virginia, in which American troops forced the British occupying the town to surrender. This battle, celebrated for the heroic leadership of Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette, effectively ended the American Revolution. Lawrence’s wall also serves as a backdrop for the sword exchange that took place between two appointed delegates on behalf of American General George Washington and British General Charles Cornwallis, on October 19, 1781. The artist focused on this imminent transfer of power and peaceful resolution by creating a space between the redcoat gripping his sword and the open hand of an unseen patriot, framed against a cloud-filled sky symbolizing a hopeful future."

Jacob Lawrence, “. . . for freedom we want and will have, for we have served this cruel land long enuff . . ." —a Georgia slave, 1810, Panel 27, 1956, from Struggle: From the History of the American People, 1954–56. Egg tempera on hardboard. Private collection.
 © 2020 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

I urge you to visit Lawrence's masterpiece series: Struggle: From the History of the American People, painted from 1954-1956, before it closes on Sunday, November 1st, or if this is impossible, please study his works on the museum's website.  The title itself deserves a sustained reflection: "the history of the American People" - all American people?  Well, not our neighbors Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. Rather, all who have lived and continue to live in the politically connected 50 states within the Americas, the United States. In these united states, we have much to be thankful for and much to strive for in order to form "a more perfect union."  

Jacob Lawrence, "If we fail, let us fail like men, and expire together in one common struggle . . .,"—Henry Clay, 1813, Panel 23, 1956, from Struggle: From the History of the American People, 1954–56. Egg tempera on hardboard. Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. 
© 2020 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Bob Packert/PEM.

For more information about this particular series by our American treasure, New York artist Jacob Lawrence, please watch this short video produced for PBS, with a tour of the exhibition guided by artist Derrick Adams, whose exhibition Buoyant at the Hudson River Museum recently closed.  

For more information about Jacob Lawrence and his numerous series, please visit the Museum of Modern Art's Artist Page dedicated to Lawrence's work in the MoMA collection and previous temporary exhibitions and D.C. Moore Gallery. (Members of the New York Arts Exchange art tours may recall our visit to D.C. Moore in 2008 to see Jacob Lawrence: Moving Forward, at the gallery's previous address on Fifth Avenue.)

Best wishes for Halloween,

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Last Call: "Simmer Down," a virtual art exhibition curated by Niara Jordan with the support of ArtsWestchester, through October 30th


Simmer Down, a virtual exhibition curated by Niara Jordan

Dear friends,

It's raining and the air is tense with anticipation.  We all eagerly await the results of the U.S. Presidential Election, which has dominated the news cycles almost as much as the Covid-19 virus. We need relief and we need it now.

Niara Jordan, Juan, 2020

How about visiting an art exhibition?  No need to leave your home. No need to get up from the computer or put down your phone. It's here. Click and you'll arrive in a virtual art gallery, where the talented, emerging artist Niara Jordan curated a show entitled Simmer Down, a perfect response to our sizzling current events--personally, politically, socially, and weather-wise. We need to chill, and Ms. Jordan has selected several uplifting artworks that offer inspiration. Here is her exhibition's address:

Christina Thomas, Walking In His Light, 2018

But first, a big "thank you" to Christina Thomas, one of the artists in this show and one of the artists in two of my own exhibitions: Bosom Bodies: An Exhibition in Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) and Art Above the Sofa., for sending me the link to Simmer Down, and introducing me to Niara Jordan. I am blown away by the design of this virtual space and its versatility. Please check out the whole website, while you are in the "neighborhood." It's a treat, not a trick, for our holiday spirit.  I look forward to learning more about such ventures. The possibilities for exhibiting in this fashion seem limitless. Moreover, Ms. Jordan's select of works is outstanding, as well as her choice of platform, music and virtual installation of the works. The whole experience is quite satisfying.

Simmer Downsupported by a grant from ArtsWestchester, features the works of Westchester artists Niara Jordan, Donna Faranda, Banana Lady, Edward Walsh, Lisa Medoff, Isaiah Cuadra, Diamond’s Mystical Vanity, Sandra Wong Geroux, Patricia Stuart, Tali Margolin, Leslie Hardie, Zayia Winslow, Donna Castelluccio, Corinne Lapin-Cohen, and Christina Thomas. To find out more about each artist, click here for a page entitled "Exhibiting Artists."  Then, scroll down and click on the artworks that interest you. Presto! You land on the artist's page, where you can read the artist's statement, peruse the artist's resume, and contact the artist personally.  I love this immediate gratification.


Simmer Down closes on October 30th - so hurry up, click on the live link and let us know what you think of the show and this virtual experience: 

And don't forget to VOTE!

Warm regards on this soggy fall day in NY -


Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Zooming with artist Ruby Silvious: An interview hosted by the Greenwich Arts Council on Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 7 pm


Recycled & Refashioned: An Interview with Ruby Silvious

  • This virtual event is part of Greenwich Arts Council Selective Space Series

    To RSVP please at You will receive a Zoom link to participate in this virtual lecture.

  • Looking forward to seeing you there!

  • Beth

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange