Speed Art Museum honors Breonna Taylor, 2 fallen protesters in new exhibit

Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 2:12 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For the first time a portrait of Breonna Taylor that graced the cover of Vanity Fair magazine is now being showcased for the public to see in person.

Amy Sherald’s portrait is included in the Promise, Witness, Remembrance exhibit at The Speed Art Museum.

The exhibit is curated by Allison Glenn and is based on three words inspired by a conversation Glenn had with Taylor’s mother.

It also includes a photograph by Tyler Gerth, who was passionate about the movement for equality and was shot dead at Jefferson Square Park last year.

A few snapshots away is a photo of Travis Nagdy, a protester killed while someone tried to steal his car.

The Speed Art Museum included the following as descriptions for each section of the exhibit.

Promise: In this first gallery, contemporary artists explore ideologies of the United States of America through the symbols that uphold them, exploring the nation’s founding, history, and the promises and realities, both implicit and explicit, contained within them. Here, works such as Glenn Ligon’s Aftermath (2020) and Bethany Collins’ The Star Spangled Banner: A Hymnal (2020) speak to the gulf between those promises and the experiences of those for whom they go unfulfilled.

Witness: Artists help us to understand the contemporary moment. This next section builds upon the gap between what a nation promises and provides through artworks that explore ideas of resistance across time, form, and context.

Remembrance : These galleries include an intergenerational grouping of artists who have made work that bears witnesses to the time that it was created. From Louisville native Sam Gilliam pushing the boundaries of painting, Alisha Wormsley’s afro-futurist manifesto for Black lives, and Terry Adkins’ monumental sculpture Muffled Drums (after Darkwater) (2003) to photographs from the protests created by Louisville-based photographers Jon Cherry, Xavier Burrell, T.A. Yaro, Erik Branch, and the late Tyler Gerth, these works reflect a combination of artists’ responses to expectations, ideas, and fears—both current and enduring, aesthetic and political.

The exhibit is open through June 6.

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