Monuments to Us
Whose stories are memorialized, and whose are erased?
Drawn largely from the Museum’s collection, the works in this space preserve legacies that might otherwise have gone unsung. They speak to the lives and experiences of individuals and groups whose stories have been systematically excluded: people of color, women and girls, and members of LGBTQ and immigrant communities. Among them, Alice Neel’s Linda Nochlin and Daisy (1973) pays tribute to the recently deceased feminist art historian who changed the course of the discipline with her groundbreaking essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” Donald Moffett’s Facts, Which If True (Joe McCarthy) (1992) evokes individual resilience, popular paranoia, and political double-speak in the face of the 1980s AIDS epidemic, which ravaged the artist’s community. Sedrick Huckaby often paints members of his family, stating, “They’re important enough to make a monument out of them.” His cousin is the subject of Huckaby’s massive portrait, Enocio (2003–6).
Recently, monuments to the Confederacy have become the subject of national debate. Some believe they should be removed or destroyed as symbols of a racist past and present; others have argued that they be retained as vestiges of a contentious history. Such discussions affirm the crucial role of the visual arts in shaping the politics of remembrance. Much like “monuments” in the more traditional sense, these works and others ascribe value to their subjects—not war heroes, politicians, or superstars, but neighbors, cousins, colleagues, and friends. Together, they serve as reminders that artists make history by amending and expanding it.
Performances and Related Events
Friday, March 9, 6–9 pm
With artist Aram Han Sifuentes.
Wednesday, March 14, 7–8 pm
Join Boston-area thinkers for a free open discussion moderated by Harold Steward, managing director, The Theater Offensive.
Community Portraiture: John Ahern and Sedrick Huckaby
Spotlight Talk with the curator of the exhibition, Liz Munsell, Lorraine and Alan Bressler Curator of Contemporary Art.
Teen Café: March Music Madness
Friday, March 23, 7–8:30 pm
Music, dance, and spoken-word performances by Boston-area teens led by the MFA Teen Arts Council.
SMFA at Tufts University Intermediate Performance Workshop
Thursday, March 29, 7–8:30 pm
Friday, March 30, 7–8:30 pm
Co-organized by Anthony Romero engaging with Amalia Pica’s Now Speak!
Monumental Gestures: Yoan Capote and Donald Moffett
Sunday, April 1, 1–1:15, 2–2:15, 3–3:15 pm
Spotlight Talk with Caroline Kipp, curatorial research associate, Contemporary Art.
Pathways to Freedom Encounter
Wednesday, April 4, 4–6:30 pm
With artist Julia Vogl; hosted in partnership with The Jewish Arts Collaborative.
Wednesday, April 4, 7–8 pm
Join Boston-area thinkers for a free open discussion moderated by Rev. Jeffrey Brown, associate pastor, Twelfth Baptist Church, Roxbury.
In the News
|The Guardian (1/29/18): Monuments to Us: Why Art Should Be Preserving Unsung Legacies|
Presented with support from the Callaghan Family Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions.