The New York Times called the Speed Art Museum's Promise, Witness, Remembrance — centered around artist Amy Sherald's portrait of Breonna Taylor and originally commissioned by Ta-Nehisi Coates for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine — one of the best art exhibitions of 2021. In the words of critic Holland Cotter, "the show was assembled in four months — warp speed in museum-time — and created a prototype for institutional responses to history-as-it's-happening." This breathtaking book documents not just the 32 works featured in the exhibition, but also the process by which the Speed used this opportunity to memorialize the life of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police in March 2020, and to serve its community through art, featuring real-time quotations from Curator Allison Glenn, Community Engagement Strategist Toya Northington, Director Stephen Reily, Tamika Palmer (Breonna Taylor's mother), artist Amy Sherald, and others. With 200 photos, featuring work by 22 Black artists, including Sam Gilliam, Lorna Simpson, Kerry James Marshall, Hank Willis Thomas, and Theaster Gates, Promise, Witness, Remembrance is a vital addition to the canon of Black American art.
Introducing the Key Players
Community Engagement Programs
At this moment in America, it is hard to imagine a more consequential exhibition than Promise, Witness, Remembrance at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville —Breonna Taylor's hometown.~Hyperallergic
This painting and exhibition embody the idea of art for justice and demonstrate the potential power of art to heal.~Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
Promise, Witness, Remembrance...speeds up exhibition production, focuses on the present, and in doing so reaches out to new audiences vital to the institutional future.~Holland Cotter, The New York Times
Amy Sherald's portrait of Breonna Taylor may prove to be the most important painting of the 21st century.~Forbes
Essay by Ramona Dallum Lindsey