What new stories can familiar works of art tell? This exhibition reimagines New-York Historical’s permanent collections through novel groupings that seek to complicate the more established meanings of individual objects. On display is a selection of objects that speaks to the active life of the collection—to the dynamism of an ever-transforming New York and nation, and to the vitality of history itself. The pairing of Betye Saar’s Extreme Times Call for Extreme Heroines (2017) with Fred Pansing’s New York Harbor (ca. 1900) takes celebratory narratives of American seafaring and uncovers the trauma of the transatlantic slave trade. Martin Wong’s Canal Street (1992) and Oscar yi Hou’s Far Eastsiders, aka: Cowgirl Mama A.B & Son Wukong (2021) establish a longstanding lineage for queer Asian diasporic artists in New York City. And the juxtaposition of Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire with works by Josephine Walters and the contemporary Shinnecock artist Courtney M. Leonard calls attention to the racial and gender politics of the Hudson River School landscape tradition. As a whole, the groupings aim to center long-marginalized experiences and prompt a rethinking of both American art and the way museums tell history. Curated by Wendy Nālani E. Ikemoto, senior curator of American art.
August 12th, 2023
January 30th, 2024
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