Despite language used to describe it, the past is rarely stilled within the fixed frame of retrospective distance. Instead, defying attempts at neat chronology, the past resurfaces and evolves in the expanding now. Images and narratives echo at the edges of the present and shade visions of the future. Interwoven with and twisted by current events and shifting perspectives, individual and collective understandings of history are forever in flux.
This presentation from the collection brings together works by artists who wrestle with, and create room for, such circuitous trajectories. Reckoning with complexities, atrocities, and losses both recent and removed, these artists confront the challenge of giving shape to subjects which resist direct representation, and locating their own place within the imprint of broad and tangled influences. Eschewing the inflexible formats of traditional monumentality, the objects in this exhibition open onto layered narratives, making room for history’s multiplicities and giving space to the subjective and intimate sway of memory. In doing so, they mirror the slippery footing with which we navigate our standing both in relation to an envisioned yesterday and an imagined tomorrow.
Permanent collection artists on view:
Ross Bleckner, Melvin Edwards, Nicole Eisenman, Joy Episalla, Myra Greene, Philip Guston, Ulrich Horndash, Rachel Lachowicz, Annette Lemieux, Ellen Lesperance, André Masson, Dominic McGill, Mary Miss, Shirin Neshat, Lorraine O’Grady, Adam Pendleton, Manfred Pernice, Katherine Porter, Kay Rosen, Kiki Smith, Patti Smith, William Villalongo, Kara Walker, Jack Whitten, Samira Yamin.