Event Recap – “American Crossings: The Complex Legacy of Robert Colescott” Presented by Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

A couple weeks ago, I attended an event here in Southern California (Downtown L.A., specifically) entitled “What Is the Value of Art?” that was presented by the under-construction and highly anticipated Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Lucas Museum presented another fascinating discussion entitled “American Crossings: The Complex Legacy of Robert Colescott,” and while I wasn’t able to make it over to the east coast to attend, I did watch the live-stream of the event on YouTube, which is archived in the embedded video below.

Watch American Crossings: The Complex Legacy of Robert Colescott:

“American Crossings” served as a celebratory discussion of American artist Robert Colescott as the current exhibition of his work comes to an end at the Met, and as the Lucas Museum has acquired his 1975 painting George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook. This piece was deliberately meant to parody the famous 1851 paintings entitled Washington Crossing the Delaware by artist Emanuel Leutze, one of which was on display in the room next door to the Colescott exhibit at the Met.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art’s Director and CEO Sandra Jackson-Dumont provided the opening remarks for the event, and the hour-long talk was moderated by Akili Tommasino, who serves as the Associate Curator for the Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Joining Tommasino onstage for the discussion were curator and art historian Lowery Stokes Sims alongside contemporary artist Rashid Johnson, and together the trio talked about the enduring impact of Colescott’s work. Further topics of discourse included the concept of transgression in art and how some of the more combative examples of Colescott’s output are perceived today versus when they were originally created.

As someone who was mostly unfamiliar with the art and life of Robert Colescott before today’s presentation, I must say I was enthralled to learn about this intriguing artist, who sadly passed away in 2009. It also made me extremely excited to see the highlighted artwork George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware in person when the Lucas Museum finally opens two years from now.

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is currently planned to open in 2025 in Los Angeles, California’s Exposition Park. For additional information, be sure to visit the museum’s official website.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.