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Representations of Identity and the American Dream

September 4, 2018 - November 24, 2018

Pat Guthrie Teaching Gallery
Representations of Identity and the American Dream
Representations of Identity and the American Dream

Representations of Identity and the American Dream illustrates notions of American national identity in light of racial and cultural identities. During the 2016 election, both Democrats and Republicans created dueling narratives of American national identity.

These dueling narratives formed barriers between both groups that made communication difficult between American communities. Art featured in this exhibition works to break down ideological barriers by creating conversations around a more unified version of American national identity. Art has the ability to engage directly with American communities by transcending ideology. Art is an expression, an experience, an encounter, a critique, a performance, a memory, and in the context of this exhibition, a more accurate reflection of American identity at-large.

This semester, the Pat Guthrie Teaching Gallery departs from the traditional model of presenting artwork selected for classes to highlight the curatorial work of interns at the UW Art Museum. Cameron Green, a graduate student of History, and Jandey Shackelford, an undergraduate student of visual arts, worked closely with various museum departments including collections, curatorial and education to curate the exhibition Representations of Identity and the American Dream. The students worked through the entire curatorial process, including object research, checklist creation, idea presentation to senior staff, exhibition development, layout techniques, writing for the museum audience, public presentations and the creation of related programming. Internships are an important component of the Art Museum and provide students with the hands-on experience necessary to be successful in the museum field. In turn, the museum is grateful for the assistance that interns are able to provide in collections, object research and with various other tasks. Internships are important reciprocal relationships for all museums and the Art Museum is happy to support students through university credit and some paid opportunities.

  • Curated by Museum Studies interns Cameron Green (graduate, history) and Jandey Shackelford (undergraduate, visual arts) in partnership with the For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative
  • Funded in part by Pat Guthrie Exhibition Endowment Funds and Student Fees from the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming in partnership with the For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative.

 

What is For Freedoms?

For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative is a non-partisan, nationwide campaign that uses art as a means of inspiring civic participation in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. For Freedoms was founded by artists in 2016 as a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action in the United States. For Freedoms uses art to deepen public discussions of civic issues and core values while working to clarify that citizenship in American society is dependent on participation, not ideology. The For Freedoms non-profit was first inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms first articulated by FDR in 1941 – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear

The artwork included in this exhibition demonstrate how people shape the cultural systems that shape their lives—from politics to art, from advertising to civic life. Citizenship is de­fined by the creative use of one’s voice, one’s body, one’s mind, and, ultimately, one’s vote.

The 50 State Initiative is the largest creative collaboration in the history of this country. For Freedoms’ 200+ institutional partners are bringing together artists and community leaders through exhibitions, town hall meetings, and public billboard projects. These collective activities inject creativity and critical thinking while lifting sometimes unheard voices into public conversations. In that way, the For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative can blur the line between artistic and political discourse while creating an open, nuanced national dialogue in a partisan climate.

To learn more, visit www.forfreedoms.org.

Images: 
Left/Top: Colleen Browning (American, 1918-2003), Union Mixer, not dated, color lithograph, ed. 85/125, 21 x 34 inches, gift of Lorillard, a division of Loews Theatres, Inc., 1976.53
Right/Bottom: Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917-2000), The 1920s…The Migrants Arrive and Cast Their Ballots, 1974, serigraph, 32 x 24-7/8 inches, gift of Lorillard, a Division of Loews Theatres, Inc., 1976.58



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