Overview Promise Witness Remembrance

Overview

Join Stephen Reily, Allison Glenn, and Toya Northington as they lead us through Promise, Witness, Remembrance, on view now at the Speed Art Museum. Watch the video below to learn more about the central themes of the show, the community involvement in the exhibition, and more.

Promise

National anthems, voting rights, constitutions, and a military that protects the rights of citizens can all be seen as symbolic representations of a nation and its promise. The promise of the United States is rooted in what our forefathers called “unalienable rights,” which are outlined within the Constitution—including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In this first gallery, contemporary artists explore the shared beliefs and values of the United States of America through the symbols that uphold them: the Star Spangled Banner, Presidential elections, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the military. These four works ask us to consider these symbols of the United States, and how they have changed and shifted over time, provoking questions such as:

What does the promise of the United States mean to its citizens?

For whom are these rights afforded?

How do we ensure that these rights are protected in the future?

Witness

Artists help us to understand the contemporary moment, often responding to the politics, fears, fashion, and cultural trends of the times they are living in.

We live in an unprecedented and historic moment. In the midst of a global pandemic, incidents of police brutality and gun violence against Black and Brown communities continue to take place with almost no recourse. Here in Louisville, Breonna Taylor’s family still has not gotten the justice they seek.

These galleries include an intergenerational grouping of artists who have made work that bears witnesses to the historical events that they have lived through. From Louisville native Sam Gilliam pushing the boundaries of painting to Alisha Wormsley’s afro-futurist manifesto for Black lives, and from Terry Adkins’ monumental sculpture to visual documentation of recent protests created by Louisville-based photographers, this combination of artists’ responses to expectations, ideas, and fears are both current and enduring.

Remembrance