Jacob Lawrence: The Legend of John Brown

September 16 - December 21, 2018

Davis Museum at Wellesley College

Jacob Lawrence created The Legend of John Brown, his fifth series of history paintings in gouache, in 1941. In 1974, the Detroit Institute of Art, which owns the original paintings, commissioned Lawrence to produce an edition of screen prints of the series, which he completed in collaboration with Ives-Sillman, Inc. (New Haven, CT) in 1977. The Davis presents the full print portfolio, purchased in 2015, for the first time.


Fragment: A Museum’s Mid-Century Legacy

Co-curated with Meredith Fluke

February 13–June 10, 2018

Davis Museum at Wellesley College

Works of art housed in museum collections are often pieces of a larger whole—removed, stripped, chiseled, ripped, and cleaned into presentable and aestheticized objects. This exhibition explored fragments acquired in the mid-20th century, when modern taste and art historical pedagogy combined to require authentic and beautiful objects for museum collections.


Life on Paper: Contemporary Prints from South Africa

September 19  – December 17,  2017

Davis Museum at Wellesley College

Taught in both academic institutions and community education centers, printmaking has long held a prominent place in South African modern and contemporary art. Life on Paper: Contemporary Prints from South Africa investigates the existential questions raised by diverse artists in drypoints, lithographs, screenprints, woodcuts, and more. The exhibition honors recent gifts to the collection by the Artist Proof Studio (Johannesburg) and Dr. Pamela Allara, Brandeis University Associate Professor Emerita of Contemporary Art. Curated by Amanda Gilvin, Assistant Curator, and presented with generous support from the Constance Rhind Robey ‘81 Fund for Museum Exhibitions.


African Art

Installed September 2016

Davis Museum at Wellesley College

The arts of Africa reflect the cultural diversity of an immense continent. As a result of the common collecting patterns in Europe and the United States that grew out of colonization, the majority of African art in the Davis Museum collections — like most Western museums — comes from West and Central Africa and dates to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. African visual arts embrace a rich array of media: textiles, jewelry, ceramics, wooden sculpture, architecture, and various ephemeral objects. Almost all African artistic traditions feature the activation of objects through performance, practical use, or other close engagement. The isolation of wooden sculptures, especially masks, from their larger ensembles is a byproduct of a preference among American and European collectors for sculpture and a practical need among art dealers for durable artworks that can be transported long distances.


Women and Power

Ketcham Gallery for African Art 

Installed October 2015

Smith College Museum of Art

The Ketcham Gallery for African Art opened at the Smith College Museum of Art with the theme of Women and Power in October 2015. The works in the Ketcham Gallery attest to the changing kinds of power that women have held over time in diverse African cultures. As artists, patrons, and performers, women have exercised social, political, and economic power through the arts. Women's power may be connected to motherhood, and some women ahve appealed for the aid of ancestral powers to become mothers themselves. Some artworks made by men incorporate images of women that allude to unseen feminine authority upholding male public leadership. The intricate beadwork, detailed sculptures, hand-dyed textiles, and other arts in this gallery represent African women changing the world around them. 


El Anatsui: New Worlds

Co-curated with John Stomberg

January 21, 2014 to June 8, 2014

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

One of the most acclaimed figures of the global art world today, Ghanaian artist El Anatsui works with found materials to craft monumental works of art that challenge the traditional definitions of sculpture and painting. During the spring of 2014, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum was fortunate to collaborate with the artist not only on a sensational exhibition, but also on a personal visit to our campus. El Anatsui: New Worlds is the product of the College’s prolonged engagement with this installation—a  sumptuously illustrated volume highlighting the unique responses of 20 faculty, professionals, and educators, and offering a transcript of Anatsui’s public conversation. From computer scientists to philosophers and from biologists to economists, authors examine their own creative and intellectual reactions to Anatsui’s powerful sculptures through the unique lens of their own discipline.

Find out more at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.