Jacob Lawrence: Lines of Influence explores the life, work, and legacy of acclaimed painter, storyteller, educator, and chronicler of the mid-20th-century African American experience, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000). As a celebration of the centennial of the artist’s birth, this publication follows the exhibition of the same name, organized by SCAD Museum of Art in fall 2017. Arranged in two parts, the exhibition’s first section, Relations, traces some of the engagements that shaped Lawrence’s personal and professional life and presents his work in dialogue with that of his contemporaries, mentors, and historically significant artists. Though he arrived at his distinctive formal language early in his career, the engagements that shaped his personal and professional life remain evident.
Part two, Legacy, explores Lawrence’s influence on contemporary artists living and working today and those who share similar formal and conceptual concerns. Thematic strands in the original exhibition include the uncovering of historical blind spots, a preoccupation with narrative and storytelling, and the elevation of everyday experiences as symbolic markers.
This publication is comprised of contributions by Paula Wallace, president and founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design; Dr. Walter O. Evans, president of the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation; Storm Janse van Rensburg, former head curator of exhibitions at SCAD Museum of Art; and art historians Julie Levin Caro and Carroll Greene, including a significant, previously unpublished interview with Jacob Lawrence. Additional comments by participating artists Derrick Adams, Aaron Fowler, Meleko Mokgosi, Barbara Earl Thomas, and Hank Willis Thomas are also included.