GONE WITH THE WIND

The sixty individual paintings in The Migration Series, each one numbered, are all the same small size--eighteen by twelve inches, still an art-supply-shop standard. Some are vertically oriented, some horizontally, an arrangement that creates visual interest without sacrificing unity--which is particularly important, since Lawrence saw them "not as individual panels but as a single work of art." In fact, Lawrence says he was so committed to the series' "oneness" that he "worked the colors," painting the black portions of all sixty panels, then the yellow portions, and so on until the series was complete.

In addition to the paintings in The Migration Series, another historical exhibit meant to connect us with Lawrence and his time is presented in an adjacent gallery. There are some problems with this presentation, not the least of which is that it includes a reproduction of one of the panels in an elephantine enlargement. I think it's the first time I've ever seen a reproduction in an art museum. What were the out-of-town organizers thinking?

Another, better exhibit that also complements the Lawrence show is The Narratives Continue, which features work by black artists from the permanent collection of DAM's Modern and Contemporary department. A real standout here is the masterful 1963 painting "The Procession," by an African-American in Paris named Bob Thompson. The painting reveals a debt to Lawrence's work, particularly The Migration Series. Later this fall the show promises a rare sighting of Floyd Tunson's very different "Before and After," a mural-sized acrylic painting. Unfortunately, Tunson's from Colorado--the reason, apparently, why he's forced to time-share gallery space at the museum.

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