Luce Center for American Art, 5th Floor
Galvanized by recent calls for racial justice, this reinstallation of our American Art galleries addresses the differing visions of land, abolition, labor, and identity in the United States. The first phase of our multiyear project focuses on three galleries, with works that span from 4000 B.C.E. to the present, and challenges us to look closely and acknowledge this country’s history. In dialogue with one another, these artworks highlight the creative ways Indigenous peoples, European settlers, and African Americans have expressed themselves, and show how diverse cultural voices adapt, evolve, and survive.
The reimagined first gallery opens with an introduction to Lenapehoking, the ancestral homeland of the Lenape (Delaware) people. Developed in partnership with Lenape leaders, this presentation of their history and resilience centers the voices of Brooklyn’s original inhabitants. The conversation about colonization continues in the second gallery, which juxtaposes American landscape paintings with Indigenous works illustrating different ties to this land, its resources, and our connections and responsibilities to it. The third gallery focuses on African American artistic production and the true source of material wealth in the Americas, abolitionist struggles historically and today, and American racial identity, incorporating works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as late twentieth-century paintings. This reinstallation reminds us how cultural ideas can transcend time and place as we contemplate the complexity and dynamism of American cultural life.
The 2020 reinstallation of the first through third galleries of the American Art collection is organized by Jane Dini, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, American Art; with Catherine Futter, Senior Curator, Decorative Arts; Margarita Karasoulas, Assistant Curator, American Art; Elizabeth St. George, Assistant Curator, Decorative Arts; and Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, Arts of the Americas; with special thanks to Dalila Scruggs, Fellowship Coordinator, Education; Joseph Shaikewitz and Shea Spiller, Curatorial Assistants, Arts of the Americas and Europe; and to Joe Baker, Executive Director, The Lenape Center; Chief Chester Brooks, Delaware Tribe of Indians; Hadrien Coumans, Co-Director, The Lenape Center; David G. Lewis, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; Kristin Jacobs, Eelŭnaapéewi Lahkéewiit Reserve; Chief Mark Peters, Munsee-Delaware Nation; Chief Denise Stonefish, Eelŭnaapéewi Lahkéewiit Reserve; Roger Thomas, Munsee-Delaware Nation; Henry Zenk, linguistic consultant for Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; and Curtis Zunigha, Delaware Tribe of Indians.
Leadership support for this reinstallation is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The installation of the fourth through ninth galleries of the American Art collection was organized by Connie H. Choi, former Assistant Curator, American Art; with Barry R. Harwood, late Curator of Decorative Arts; Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, Arts of the Americas; Susan Kennedy Zeller, former Associate Curator, Native American Art; and Richard Aste, former Curator of European Art.
Generous support for the installation of the American galleries as part of the Brooklyn Museum’s Countdown to Launch Initiatives is provided by Barbara and John Vogelstein, Dana Ben-Ari and Nikola Duravcevic, Tamara and Gregory Belinfanti, and Leslie and Alan Beller.