The Jacob Lawrence of Jacob Lawrence is a new work by Jace Clayton, commissioned by the Black Mountain College Museum. The piece is included in the museum's inaugural show in its new site, 'Between Form and Content: Perspectives on Jacob Lawrence and Black Mountain College.' The Jacob Lawrence of Jacob Lawrence has two aspects: it exists as a single-channel video on view at the exhibition, and a composition for voice and electronics that Jace Clayton and Arooj Aftab performed in the museum on October 19th.
Lawrence’s interest in the socioeconomic structures that contour racial imaginaries while reinforcing real-world inequality formed the starting point for this piece. In it, Clayton collects American newspaper mentions of ‘Jacob Lawrence’ that pre-date Jacob Lawrence, the celebrated artist. Excerpts from those articles, which reach back centuries, form the entirety of the libretto/script.