What’s in a Boxing Glove?

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Whitfield Lovell, Bleck, 2008. Conté crayon on wood and boxing gloves, 44 1/2 x 21 x 11 in. Courtesy DC Moore Gallery © Whitfield Lovell and DC Moore Gallery, New York

Tableaux such as Bleck, showing boxing gloves dangling from a female figure, are examples of Whitfield Lovell testing assumptions and pressing us to “think a little deeper.” Why do we see a woman and not a man with these boxing gloves? Lovell has altered our usual frame of reference. When we view the gloves less literally, the combination may suggest the woman’s perseverance, strength, and struggle.

Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works is on view through Jan. 8, 2017.

William Wordsworth to Whitfield Lovell

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Whitfield Lovell, Kin XXXV (Glory in the Flower), 2011. Conté on paper, vintage clock radio, 30 x 22 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, The Dreier Fund for Acquisitions, 2013 © Whitfield Lovell and DC Moore Gallery, New York

The subtitle of this work by Whitfield Lovell, a recent acquisition for the museum, is “Glory in the Flower,” which references the below poem by William Wordsworth. Why do you think Lovell chose this particular phrase for this work? Why do you think he chose a clock as the accompanying object to this portrait?

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
–William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” from Recollections of Early Childhood, 1804

Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works is on view through Jan. 8, 2017.

A Day of Arts Integration at the Phillips

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Panel 61+

In October, 41 educators from Virginia, Maryland, and DC came together to experience the educator workshop Panel 61+: What Happens Now. Using Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series as a medium for discussion, collaboration, and experimentation, the workshop focused on exploring arts integration.

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Panel 61+

In the morning, educators flowed into the auditorium to hear curator Elsa Smithgall and Professor of Modern Art at the University of Virginia, Elizabeth Hutton Turner, give an art historical framework for The Migration Series. “During a time when record numbers of migrants are uprooting themselves in search of a better life, Lawrence’s timeless tale and its universal themes of struggle and freedom continue to strike a chord not only in our American experience but also in the international experience of migration around the world,” said Smithgall, connecting the series to the present day.

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Panel 61+

During the afternoon, museum educators returned to the workshop where Phillips staff led a series of breakout sessions demonstrating Prism.K12, the Phillips’s unique set of six strategies for integrating the arts into school curricula. These hands-on sessions provided participants with the tools to incorporate this into their classrooms, from artistically creating the 61st panel of The Migration Series to empathizing with subjects in Lawrence’s works in the galleries to engaging in a lesson-building activity using Jacob Lawrence-themed dice.

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Panel 61+

The 2016 Jacob Lawrence Teacher Cohort, a group of local best practice educators trained in arts integration, then took the stage by sharing their own classroom experience with their peers. Before the day was finished, the educators had the chance to browse the galleries and reflect and connect with their colleagues. Participants left the fast-paced, invigorating event equipped with strategies to teach their students about Lawrence’s topical work, the historical context, and its relevance to current times.

Frances Gurzenda, K-12 Education Intern