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This is an image of an artwork by Tomashi Jackson.

Tomashi Jackson, The Makings of You (Ruth in Gold / Pauli in Violet), 2021

Tomashi Jackson: Brown II
Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts
September 20th, 2021 - January 15th, 2021

Tomashi Jackson combines a practice based in painting and printmaking with archival research in the histories of law, urbanism, and social justice. Her work plumbs the intersections between the formal languages of visual art (color, composition, layering) and the political languages driving the histories of segregation, voting rights, education, and housing in the United States. By activating these shared motifs of art and policy, her work brings the full power of both traditions to bear on historical engagement and critical action.

In this exhibition, commissioned by Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Jackson explores the challenges of implementing the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Supreme Court decision. Her research and work centers specifically on the 1955 case (referred to as Brown II) that followed the 1954 Brown decision. Brown II asserted that the effort to desegregate schools in the United States was to be undertaken with “all deliberate speed.”

Working with a team of Harvard graduate students, Jackson produced a volume of research that animates the legal, social, contemporary, and historical movements that flow from the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Working before and during the spring 2020 period of quarantine, Jackson and the student research team interviewed experts and sifted through the Schlesinger Library archives to produce a multifaceted approach to historical narratives of governance and policy.

Tomashi Jackson’s work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. 

Jackson, born in 1980 in Houston, Texas, lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in New York City. She has had solo museum exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, and another solo exhibition—The Land Claim at the Parrish Art Museum—is on view through November 7, 2021. Her work is in the group show Off the Record at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum through September 27, 2021, and was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial and other group shows at the Contemporary Art Center, in New Orleans; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; MASS MoCA; and the Moody Center for the Arts. Among many other upcoming exhibitions, in 2022 her work will be included in Working Thought: Art, Labor, and the American Economy at the Carnegie Museum of Art and in What is Left Unspoken, Love at the High Museum of Art.

Request a copy of the publication Tomashi Jackson: Brown II by filling out this form. This research-based volume, produced for the exhibition, animates the legal, social, contemporary, and historical movements that flow from the Brown v. Board of Education decision.