As part of Busboys and Poets' socially engaged art practice, we have collaborated with The Phillips Collection to organize the exhibition, #Migration61, that responds to the question: What would the 61st piece of Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series look like today -- along with programming that speaks to migration. The exhibition is on display from October 30, 2016 - March 25, 2017.
In 1941, a young Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917–2000) created The Migration Series, 60 paintings that described the trauma and triumph of the African American journey from the South to the North between the world wars. His “novel in fine art” fused vision and commentary within a modernist style. Intent on educating an audience about the “push-and-pull forces” within the liberation of ordinary people, Lawrence translated an African American cultural experience into a universal visual form.
So touched by Lawrence’s Migration Series in the 1940s, Alfred Barr (director/curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York) and Duncan Phillips (director/curator of the Phillips Memorial Gallery—now The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC) acquired the 60 panels and divided them equally between the two institutions; the odd-numbered panels to The Phillips Collection and the even-numbered panels to MoMA.