American Folk Art Museum: “Securing the Shadow” visit

Yesterday was my first time visiting the American Folk Art Museum. I was surprised that until now I have never even heard about its existence. I was excited to see the exhibition that Marianne told us about.

The exhibition included three sections. Two sections of drawings and one of pictures, they all depicted people who died. My first reaction was sadness toward the frozen figures that were immortalized on canvas. However, I thought that most of the drawing were poorly made. The children figures looked like a hybrid of a child and an adult with blank expressions.

While I took this picture, the guard told me that taking pictures is not allowed so it came out a little blurry. What I love about this portrait is that parts of it are drawn (her face and the collar) and parts of it are embroidered (her clothes and the curtain). The caption said she died in her forties but her memorial portrait is of a teen girl. I wonder if it’s because this is the way she wanted to be remembered or because this is how the portrait’s owner wanted to remember her.

The part of the exhibition that I found the easiest to relate with was the room with the pictures. On the wall, there was a description of the guidelines for the photographer on how they should capture the dead and how to open their eyes, if necessary.

On one of the pictures, instead of opening the dead baby’s eyes they were drawn on top of the picture. I find the need to open their eyes a little disturbing, they seemed much more peaceful with their eyes closed.

I was surprised that all other memorial pictures were of children and women. The only section where I saw men was where the pictures were. Was was it a curatorial choice?

My favorite exhibit was a sculpture of a young child. His father created a mold of the dead child’s face. when I look up close to see all the details I was surprised to see a few human’s hairs stuck in the hairline of the white sculpture. It gave me the shivers and I could almost see the casting process in my mind.

Categories: Collective Narrative

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