May 4, 2018 - RISD Museum - The Phantom of Liberty / United Histories / Former Glory
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May 4, 2018

RISD Museum

Jordan Seaberry, The Wanderer, 2015. © Jordan Seaberry. Courtesy of the artist.

The Phantom of Liberty
May 4–December 30, 2018

United Histories
May 4–August 12, 2018

Former Glory
July 27, 2018–January 20, 2019

RISD Museum
20 North Main Street
Providence, Rhode Island
United States

T +1 401 454 6500

risdmuseum.org
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Artsy

The Phantom of Liberty
May 4–December 30, 2018

United Histories
May 4–August 12, 2018

Former Glory
July 27, 2018–January 20, 2019

RISD Museum
20 North Main Street
Providence, Rhode Island
United States

T +1 401 454 6500

risdmuseum.org
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Artsy

The RISD Museum presents three timely exhibitions of its collection:

The Phantom of Liberty: Contemporary Works in the RISD Museum Collection
On view through December 30, 2018

This is the largest presentation to date of contemporary works from the RISD Museum’s collections of contemporary art, costumes and textiles, decorative arts, and prints, drawings, and photographs. The exhibition’s title is inspired by Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel’s 1974 surrealist film of the same name reflecting the exhibition’s loose structure of thematic groupings that quietly inform one another, as well as the cultural and political climate of the past half-century. The works in The Phantom of Liberty pose trenchant questions about the possibility of liberty and freedom in a moment defined by mass incarceration, technologically sophisticated means of surveillance and information gathering, increasing economic disparities, and intensifying divisions based on race, religious affiliation, and gender or sexual orientation.  

Subtle connections between themes in the exhibition are exemplified by the transition from Sage Sohier’s sympathetic image of a same-sex couple and their child to works by Tina Barney, Deana Lawson, Ree Morton, and Jessi Reaves the explore domesticity and interpersonal relationships to assume vivid astro focus’s rainbow chain curtain depicting LGBTQ-rights adversary Pope Benedict XVI. Sculptures by Faig Ahmed, Robert Arneson, and Joyce J. Scott that similarly examine various notions of religion and spirituality. David Levinthal’s unsettling photograph of a Nazi concentration camp constructed from toy models brings reflections on incarceration and torture by James Casebere, Tony Cokes, Elizabeth Duffy, and Robert Gober into conversation with works by Shimon Attie, Helen Frankenthaler, and James Montford that consider the ongoing impact of various holocausts throughout history. The meditation on colonialism, race, power, and place in Yinka Shonibare’s Un Ballo in Maschera (Courtiers V) (2004) provides a segue between evocations of economic disparities and realities by David Allyn, Walead Beshty, Alejandro Diaz, Lubaina Himid, and Timorous Beasties, and understandings of displacement and migration by Allora & Calzadilla, Nicole Eisenman, Raul Gonzalez III, and Jordan Seaberry.

The Phantom of Liberty: Contemporary Works in the RISD Museum Collection is organized by Dominic Molon, the RISD Museum’s Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art.

 

United Histories
On view through August 12, 2018

United Histories pairs works from different disciplines and time periods to create dialogues about the history of, and life in, the United States of America. A Windsor chair from the 1920s (signifying the endurance of an iconic American style) is presented alongside Robert Wilson’s 1977 Stalin Chairs (inspired by his 1973 opera The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin) to encourage consideration of America’s still-fraught relationship with Russia and its contentious diplomatic situations with many other nations. Carey Young’s Declared Void (2005) and Roger Shimomura’s American Guardian (2008) question how the rights provided by the Constitution can be and have been legislated and administered. Young offers a provisional space that is neither protected by nor beholden to American rule of law, while Shimomura draws on his family's experience in a Japanese internment camp in the 1940s.  

United Histories is organized by Dominic Molon, the RISD Museum’s Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art.

 

Former Glory
On view July 27, 2018 through January 20, 2019

The American flag is an icon of patriotism, imbued with authority and cultural significance. This exhibition of works created in a range of media considers the American flag in the context of our time. As a representation of national identity, the flag purportedly encompasses a diversity of people, but it has also been used to substantiate the idea of American exceptionalism. Spanning more than 150 years, Former Glory questions our emotional connections to the flag and explores its presence in domestic and international communities. Humorous, violent, critical, and sentimental, these varied works acknowledge and reflect on American nationalism and our complex histories.

Former Glory is organized by Anita N. Bateman, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. The exhibition is part of the For Freedoms 50 State Campaign, a nationwide initiative organized in different institutions to address U.S. mid-term elections. For Freedoms is a artist-run collective that considers the relationship between art and politics.

 

RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.

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