State's Rights (Brown et al. vs The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas) (Limited Value Exercise)

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    The Artist
    Tilton Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    North Adams, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, In the Abstract, May 30, 2017 - April 9, 2018

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1980, Houston, TX
    Lives and works in New York, NY

    2016 MFA, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT
    2012 MS, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, Cambridge, MA
    2010 BFA, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY

    Selected honors: Toby Devan Lewis Prize (2016); Blair Dickinson Memorial Scholarship (2015 – 2016); Alice; Richard Lewis Bloch Memorial Prize (2010); Benjamin Menschel Fellowship for Creative Inquiry (2008)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA; Michigan State University, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, East Lansing, MI
    Selected public collections: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA

    Color in its widest sense is at the heart of Tomashi Jackson’s research-based practice. Jackson, who has said that she finds “our current moment to be subliminally charged with horrifically distorted perceptions of color”, combines painting with sculpture, textile, embroidery, printmaking and photography to probe the intertwined histories of abstract painting, color theory and human rights legislation.

    It was while studying at Yale University that Jackson noticed how the language Josef Albers used in his 1963 instructional text Interaction of Color mirrored the language of racialized segregation, particularly as made manifest in the 1954 court transcripts of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. “I recognized terms about how “colors” interact from Albers’s text: colored, boundaries, movement, transparency, mixture, purity, restriction, deception, memory, transformation, instrumentation, systems, recognition, psychic effect, placement, quality, and value,” Jackson explained. “The language around de jure segregation is similar to Albers’s description of the wrong way to perceive color, as if color is static…Color is always changing, and, contrary to popular belief, it is not absolute. I saw the phenomenon of vibrating boundaries aligned with residential redistricting and redlining. Color theory and human rights are conceptually interwoven in my paintings. I find the language comparisons appropriate metaphors for a critique of racism rather than a critique of categories of race.”

    “There is power in the decisions we make as artists,” Jackson said. “I provide clues to my thinking in the titles I give my work.” States' Rights (Brown et al. vs The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas) (Limited Value Exercise) is a vivid example from Jackson’s most celebrated body of work. It recognizes the artist’s using the properties of color perception as a formal and conceptual strategy for investigating the history of American school desegregation, as well as contemporary racial tensions. Jackson incorporates into her artwork elements from the legal cases they reference. The present work was inspired by Stanley Forman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph The Soiling of Old Glory, which showed white supremacists attacking an African-American passerby in Boston at a 1976 riot in the wake of court-ordered busing.


State's Rights (Brown et al. vs The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas) (Limited Value Exercise)

mixed media on gauze
89 x 91 x 45 in. (226.1 x 231.1 x 114.3 cm.)
Executed in 2017.

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New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019