District News

New Exhibits at the American Folk Art Museum

Nov 7, 2023
New Exhibits at the American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum (2 Lincoln Square between W 65th and W 66th Street) has two new exhibits, opening November 15, 2023, and running through March 24, 2024. One focuses on Black representation within early American art, while the second features paintings by five contemporary Black artists.

According to the museum's website, Unnamed Figures: Black Presence and Absence in the Early American North is an opportunity to explore Black representation in the North “as a corrective to histories that define slavery and anti-Black racism as a largely Southern issue.” Through paintings, needlework, and photographs, visitors are invited to note how Black figures are included or omitted in early American art. Writers from New York Magazine and Smithsonian Magazine have already taken note of the exhibit, and The New York Times has called it a “landmark effort.” A free virtual discussion about the exhibit on December 7 at 1:00pm will invite new considerations of old images and delve into the topic of representation in New England and the Mid-Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Marvels of My Own Inventiveness focuses on the creative process and the decisions that painters make. The exhibit showcases 22 paintings by Black artists Leonard Daley, Claude Lawrence, J.B. Murray, Mary T. Smith, and Purvis Young. The museum will host a free virtual discussion about the exhibit on December 18 at 1:00pm, in which experts from the American Folk Art Museum share their curatorial goals and collaborative decision-making process in relation to the exhibit.

Admission to the museum and its exhibits is always free, and while drop-ins are welcome, advanced ticketing is encouraged prior to visiting the museum. The museum also has a shop filled with beautiful gifts, books, decor, and more, including a 300-page scholarly book on the Unnamed Figures exhibit. Stop by to explore the exhibits and the shop for yourself this winter!

Image, detail from:
Edward Hicks (1780–1849)
The Residence of David Twining, 1785.
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Oil on canvas,
In original wood frame with paint and gold leaf, 30 1/2 x 35 7/8 in.
American Folk Art Museum, Gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.13