Ayana V. Jackson
Riffs and Relations

Experiment Station, The Phillips Collection, April 21, 2020

Artist Ayana V. Jackson discusses her work Judgment of Paris, which premieres in Riffs in Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition, now at The Phillips Collection.


Jackson states: "Judgment of Paris was selected for the exhibition because it refers to modernism. It references Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe, an important piece of Impressionist painting made by Édouard Manet in 1863. It may be known to many that his depiction of two dressed males and two nude and semi-nude females was quite scandalous at the time. As a result, it was rejected from the Paris Salon of 1863, though it was later included in the Salon des Refusés which was commissioned by Edward Napoleon the III.


I submitted this work to the exhibition not only because of its modernist reference, but more importantly because the “original” itself is a “riff.” To some it is probably unknown that Manet was referring and perhaps sending a nod to an engraving done in the 16th century by a printmaker named Marcantonio Raimondi."