A Powerful Trio of Must-See Exhibitions Are Extended As Yale University Art Gallery Reopens

  • September 27, 2020 17:46

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John Wilson, Compositional study for The Incident, 1952. Opaque and transparent watercolor, ink, and graphite, squared for transfer. Yale University Art Gallery, Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund. © Estate of John Wilson
John Wilson, Negro Woman, study for The Incident, 1952. Oil on Masonite. Clark Atlanta University Art Collection, Atlanta Annuals. © Estate of John Wilson. Courtesy Clark Atlanta University Art Collection

On September 25, the Yale University Art Gallery opened to visitors for the first time in nearly seven months with new covid-19 safety measures in place.

“Our world has transformed in ways we never could have imagined since the Gallery closed in March. Now, more than ever, cultural institutions strive to be a place for communities to listen, learn, and grow amid rapidly changing current events,” said Stephanie Wiles, the Henry J. Heinz II Director, Yale University Art Gallery.

Three timely exhibitions have been extended through Sunday, February 28, 2021, including Reckoning with “The Incident”: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural.

In 1952, while studying at La Esmeralda, the national school of art in Mexico City, African American artist John Wilson (1922–2015) painted The Incident, a fresco mural of a racial terror lynching at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. Executed on an exterior wall at street level, the mural was intended to be temporary, but its commanding composition prompted renowned Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros—who was then the head of Mexico’s department for the protection and restoration of murals—to advocate for its preservation. Though the mural itself is no longer extant, Reckoning with “The Incident”: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural brings together nearly all of the known preparatory sketches and painted studies for the fresco, as well as related drawings and prints, from the collections of the Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College, Iowa, the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, and select private lenders.

James Prosek: Art, Artifact, Artifice brings together objects from the collections of the Gallery, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Yale Center for British Art. This exhibition places Prosek’s work in dialogue with a wide range of both man-made objects and those produced by billions of years of evolution. By challenging traditional separations of museum collections into “art” and “artifact,” or “natural” and “man-made,” the artist asks us to explore to what extent these distinctions matter. 

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Place, Nations, Generations, Beings: 200 Years of Indigenous North American Art presents a wide variety of Indigenous voices and experiences through more than 75 artworks dating from the early 19th century to the present. Guided by the four themes in its title, the exhibition investigates the connections that Indigenous peoples have to their lands; the power of objects as expressions of sovereignty; the passing on of artistic practices and traditions; and the relationships that artists and nations have to animals, plants, and cosmological beings. 

Artist Once Known (Lakota). ​Dress, Late 19th Century. Hide (possibly elk) with glass beads. Size/Form​: 61 x 481⁄2 in. (154.9 x 123.2 cm). Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
James Prosek, Paradise Lost 1 (Burmese Python and Blue and Yellow Macaw, Everglades), 2019. Oil and acrylic on panel. Courtesy the artist and Waqas Wajahat, New York. © James Prosek

For more info, visit the website at artgallery.yale.edu.


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