The images in Jacob Lawrence’s midcentury series “The American Struggle” are full of rush and clash, kinetically alive and confrontational. These 30 panels retell the story, in pivotal moments, of the American Revolution and the four decades that followed it—1775 to 1817. Lawrence, one of America’s best-known African American artists, painted his portrait of the nation’s birth spasms during the McCarthy era—a wake-up call, perhaps. The panels haven’t been reunited for 60 years. Now they are, at PEM. After PEM, they tour, an election-year reminder of what America was meant to be. —L.J.
Travels to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 2–September 7, 2020).
Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle was featured in the January 11, 2020 issue of Air Mail. Read on