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Two Writers on Art, Music, and Modality

Paul Carter Harrison, playwright and expert in African American theatre, and Quincy Troupe, poet, in conversation with Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of modern art, National Gallery of Art

American painter, printmaker, and sculptor Oliver Lee Jackson (b. 1935) has created a complex body of work which masterfully weaves together visual influences ranging from the Renaissance to modernism with principles of rhythm and improvisation drawn from his study of African cultures and American jazz. In a paired talk on May 19, 2019 at the National Gallery of Art, Paul Carter Harrison and Quincy Troupe, both writers and friends of Jackson, discussed their parallel pursuits of new avenues for creative thought and action. Harrison shared anecdotes from late-night studio discussions with Jackson, along with explanations of Jackson’s understanding of how his heritage factors into his work. Troupe read from his poetry and talked about the social and artistic environment in St. Louis, Missouri, that produced jazz musicians Miles Davis and Julius Hemphill, as well as the Black Arts Group that supported Jackson’s early work. Harrison and Troupe were then joined by curator Harry Cooper for a brief conversation.