magazine’s September cover features a new work
by painter Amy Sherald
: a bold portrait of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro police officers in her home on March 13th, 2020. The cover graces a special issue, called “The Great Fire,” which includes contributions on the subject of systemic racism in the United States by independent curator and writer Kimberly Drew, and writer Kiese Makeba Laymon, among others. Guest edited by award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the issue also features a series of interviews with Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, and intimate photographs of Taylor’s family taken by LaToya Ruby Frazier
Sherald gained international recognition when she painted former United States First Lady Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery in 2018. She is best known for her figurative paintings of individuals dressed in brilliantly colored clothing, with gray-scale skin tones. In Sherald’s portrait, Taylor is shown in the artist’s signature gray tone against a light aqua blue background. Taylor stands with her right hand placed on her hip and her gaze fixed straight ahead. She wears a flowing dress, which is just a fews shades darker than the hue of the background.