June 20, 2019 - RISD Museum - Manual 12: On Further Review
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June 20, 2019

RISD Museum

Adapted from Jenny Holzer, Untitled ("Change is the basis of all history"), 1979-1982 text date. Offset lithograph. Museum Acquisition Fund 2003.11.1

 

Manual 12: On Further Review

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

T +1 401 454 6500

risdmuseum.org
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Manual 12: On Further Review

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

T +1 401 454 6500

risdmuseum.org
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

“In newly inclusive national narratives, objects that formerly could hardly be found in museum collections now appear as worth keeping, even as worth exhibiting. These objects may come to the museum with their histories hidden, but assiduous research may fill in some gaps. We may learn who made what and how it came to the museum. That’s the easy part of unhiding histories.”
–Nell Painter, Introduction

The RISD Museum’s 12th issue of Manual focuses on uncovering narratives that were once central to objects’ histories but now have been systematically obscured, inadvertently overlooked, or otherwise lost. On Further Review opens with an introduction by Nell Painter, who specifically urges Western cultural institutions to return plundered art, which “demands a recognition of peer institutions led by people of color in formerly colonized nations—a learning exercise that may come as hard as the querying of canonical works.”

From the Files

Laurie Anne Brewer lays out what we know—and perhaps will never know—about the intersection of Indigenous and settler-colonizer cultures in a pair of Innu-style moccasins “made by Scotch family named Campbell.”

Double Takes

Anita N. Bateman analyzes how Ronnie Goodman’s “ability to cultivate an ecosystem of resistance contributes to his exceptional interrelation of form,” with Goodman himself elaborating on the genesis of his Birth of Occupy print.

Pamela A. Parmal and Bethany Johns consider an unfinished early 19th-century sampler. Johns asks: “Can we imagine not finishing as an act of resistance, a reversal of the expectation of feminine perfection? Did this maker run out of interest, ability, time, patience, or life itself?”

Kevin McBride suggests that a ca. 1700 portrait may depict the Mashantucket Pequot sachem Robin Cassacinamon, while Lorén M. Spears explains, “For more than 400 years the portrait has been identified as Ninigret, and to the Narragansett people it will remain as such.”

 

Artists on Art

Walker Mettling’s Tracings poster insert follows his research on a printed textile to the Igorot people of the Philippines and the human zoos presented for entertainment at the 1904 St. Louis world’s fair. 

Jessica Rosner records visiting the RISD Museum in 10.12.18 (Friday afternoon): “It is almost closing time. The guards are happy but not me.... There is so much I want to write, to explain. Now it is dark. I have to go to the grocery store. I can imagine Ree Morton saying that very thing.”

In As Far As We Can Go, Nick White recasts the figures in an untitled John Singer Sargent sketch.
“‘I saw the woman get sawed in half in Tunica, at one of the casinos, with him.’
‘I know. . . . I was there. I just forgot that you were there too.’”

Portfolio

Becci Davis directly addresses works in the collection in Letters to Four Venerable Bodies.

Object Lessons

Suzanne Scanlan outlines how Tynietoy dollhouses and miniature furniture shaped taste, “narrowing the gap between public display and private domain.”

Researching an abolitionist textile, Elon Cook Lee unravels narratives of violence and activism, weaving “a tale of a painter, a poet, and an insatiable printmaker. But that’s not all.”

“When and why did this lovingly executed drawing cease to be considered precious or valuable?” Jamie Gabbarelli considers Saint George, Antonio Tempesta, and the ravages of time.

From the Files

Allison Pappas ponders the Peter J. Cohen Collection of vernacular photographs, asking “What stories are restored when snapshots become part of museum collections? What stories are lost with the anonymity of the photographers and subjects to whom they once belonged?”

How To

Shiyanthi Thavapalan (re)constructs the striding lions of Babylon from the Babylonian Processional Way.

Subscribe to Manual now and get an extra issue free. Visit risdmuseum.org/subscribe.

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