Meg Rotzel and Rosie Branson Gill

 

Art+History is an exhibition of new artworks made in response to the Nightingale-Brown House, built in 1792, and home to five generations of the Brown family. Art+History explores what happens when new hands re-mix the contents of a historic home. It asks us to consider:

How do we tell stories about the past?

Jill Slosburg-Ackerman’s Import/Export is a series of sculptures on the first floor of the house. Inspired by architectural details, furniture, and photograph collections, the artist’s work reconfigures images, china, and stories to reflect on the overlaps, intersections, and disjunctures represented by the home and its collections. Jill’s work engages the differences between renovation and addition, restoration and reconstruction. It raises the question:

How is a historical object shaped by individuals and by culture?

Carla Herrera-Prats uses photography as a departure point in her installation Keep the word vanishing until the end.  Carla used the collection of 19th and 20th century Brown family portrait photography to research the history of the portrait studio. Her investigation moves beyond the house to consider:

How does a family, and a culture, remember its past through photography?

Art+History is more than an art exhibition. It is also a laboratory for rethinking historical house interpretation. Our experiments include an alternative elementary school curriculum, workshops with teenage artists about site-specific art, and round-table conversations with public humanities scholars. Art+History suggests some ways to incorporate new voices and audiences in the creation of narratives about our pasts.

Both art and history are about process and product, creative acts that transform materials into something more than they were before the artist or historian set to work. Art+History asks:

How might we reveal that process to the public?

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