New Narratives: Contemporary Works on Paper
New Narratives: Contemporary Works on Paper explores the myriad ways in which contemporary artists use storytelling to engage the imagination, scrutinize the past, and envision the future. Comprised entirely of prints and drawings, the exhibition features many recent acquisitions to the CMA’s collection. Pervading the works on view is an interest in narrative, whether fiction or nonfiction, personal, cultural, or mythic. Artists in the exhibition utilize history, people, or events; biographies of known or often unknown people; and various media juxtapositions to layer the past and the present day.
The two galleries that make up the exhibition are anchored by large-scale, multipart works. Jacob Lawrence’s The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture (1986), a series of 15 screenprints, recounts aspects of the Haitian revolution, the successful insurrection by enslaved and free people of color against French colonial rule in 1791–1804. Lawrence’s expressive style and tightly composed scenes narrate the revolution through the biography of one of its leaders, General Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743–1803). Also featured is Kara Walker’s The Means to an End: A Shadow Drama in Five Acts (1995). This monumental five-part etching employs the style of historic silhouettes popular in the antebellum South to suggest a provocative narrative about race, gender, and power. Also featured are new drawings by Kerry James Marshall and Shahzia Sikander and prints by Camille Billops, Enrique Chagoya, David Wojnarowicz, Michael Menchaca, Renee Stout, and others.
All exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Exhibitions. Principal annual support is provided by the late Roy L. Williams. Generous annual support is provided by an anonymous supporter, the late Dick Blum and Harriet Warm, Gary and Katy Brahler, the Jeffery Wallace Ellis Trust in memory of Lloyd H. Ellis Jr., Leigh and Andy Fabens, the Frankino-Dodero Family Fund for Exhibitions, Janice Hammond and Edward Hemmelgarn, Carl T. Jagatich, Bill and Joyce Litzler, Carl and Lu Anne Morrison, William J. and Katherine T. O’Neill, the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation, Margaret and Loyal Wilson, and the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art.