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The Art of Jean Lacy at the Tyler Museum of Art

Dancing in the Streets by Jean Lacy, 1976

Dancing in the Streets by Jean Lacy, 1976

Divine Kinship: Ancient Forms and Social Commentary, The Art of Jean Lacy
Tyler Museum of Art
September 6 – December 6, 2009

The Creation Story, the Civil Rights Movement, the Harlem Renaissance, and Hip Hop music are among the vibrant components which converge in the Tyler Museum of Art’s (TMA) fall exhibition Divine Kinship: Ancient Forms and Social Commentary, the Art of Jean Lacy, open September 6 – December 6, 2009. Admission to Divine Kinship is free.

Known for her use of mixed media and collage, Laura Jean Lacy is an African American artist who uses her work to explore iconography that, while central to the African American experience, is also universal in its scope and implications. The exhibition was organized by the TMA, and features over 80 pieces to be displayed in the Museum’s North Gallery.

“It is definitely an honor to feature the work of Jean Lacy in Tyler,” says TMA Director Kimberly Bush Tomio. “Lacy is recognized as one of the most important artists in America. I first saw her work in the exhibit “Black Art: Ancestral Legacy, The African Impulse in African-American Art” at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1989 when I was a staff member there.”

Divine Kinship will guide viewers through a visual representation of images Lacy believes to be evocative not just of the African American culture, but also the universal human experience. Icons such as mother and child, the family, the couple, twin figures, and the warrior/hero are reshaped and integrated into contemporary settings and then imbued with religious, social, historical, and political meaning. Lacy’s use of mixed media and found objects create both a literal and figurative dimension to each piece, as she uses physical layering techniques along with an artistic layering of ideas and conjecture.

By invoking a broad collection of both famous political and popular figures, ranging from civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. to hip hop music’s Notorious B.I.G., Lacy’s art creates a pastiche that is both provocative and appealing to viewers of all ages and backgrounds.

“The exhibition offers a visual narrative history for a new generation of Americans and a reminder for generations in passing,” says guest curator, Mr. Phillip E. Collins. “Lacy believes that working in collage, assemblage, and mixed media helps to give expression to her interests that are central elements to African American culture and other cultures as well.”

Jean Lacy is a native of Washington D.C. but has lived in Dallas, Texas for the last 38 years. A museum education specialist, Lacy has developed a number of educational programs aimed at emphasizing cultural enrichment through the study of art, artifacts, and memorabilia related to African American history. She studied at North Texas State University (University of North Texas) in Denton, Texas for graduate studies in museum education, and then she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Lacy completed additional studies at the Art Students League of New York and at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California.

Guest curator for Divine Kinship: Ancient Forms and Social Commentary, the Art of Jean Lacy is Phillip E. Collins. Mr. Collins is the retired Chief Curator at the African American Museum, Dallas, TX and the newly appointed Executive Director for the Memnosyne Foundation in Dallas. He has curated over 60 exhibitions and has served as Treasurer on the Texas Association of Museum (TAM) Board of Trustees in Austin, Texas.

Special Events

The Tyler Museum of Art is proud to present the following special events to be held in conjunction with Divine Kinship: Ancient Forms and Social Commentary, the Art of Jean Lacy. Seniors’ Day will be held at the TMA on Monday, September 14 with docent-led tours beginning at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Complimentary lunch will be provided by Texas Spine & Joint Hospital; space is limited, and reservations are required. Admission to Seniors’ Day is free to those visitors age 65 and older.

Family Day is set for Saturday, September 19. Visiting families will enjoy free admission and art activities designed to reflect techniques used by Jean Lacy. Family Day activities will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Museum.

The general public is invited to attend a free Fall Lecture Series featuring the artist Jean Lacy and guest curator Phillip Collins. Fall Lecture Series I is scheduled for Sunday, September 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will be held in the TMA Classroom. Divine Kinship will also be the focus of the Museum’s First Friday Art Tours on October 2 and November 6; admission is free.

Support for Divine Kinship: Ancient Forms and Social Commentary, the Art of Jean Lacy is provided in part by East Texas Chapter, The LINKS, Inc., and Texas Spine & Joint Hospital. Collectors’ Circle Sponsors are Agnes and Frank Ward. Media Sponsor is The Breeze and Brisa – Waller Broadcasting.

Tyler Museum of Art

The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during exhibition hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit

Dancing in the Streets by Jean Lacy, 1976

Dancing in the Streets by Jean Lacy, 1976

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