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25 Jun 2018

Acting Executive Director's Message: Summer 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

Wow, it’s already summer! What happened to spring? Flowers abound at the American Folk Art Museum . . . as well as mushrooms, octopuses, volcanoes, and dinosaur footprints. Charting the Divine Plan: The Art of Orra White Hitchcock (1796–1863) is a story of love, art, science, and religion in the early nineteenth century. The exhibition opened on June 11 to a lively and appreciative crowd, graced by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who offered warm remarks. Hitchcock is one of America’s earliest female scientific illustrators whose work accompanied the investigations of her husband, self-taught scientist Edward Hitchcock of Amherst College. The exhibition follows her artistic and intellectual development from a fourteen-year-old prodigy to a mature adult whose art illuminated natural history in the emerging American scientific community. It was organized by yours truly in collaboration with the Amherst College Archives & Special Collections; the stunning exhibition design is by Michael Morris, Morris|Sato Studio. An illustrated essay will appear in the July/August issue of The Magazine Antiques. Don’t forget to visit the museum shop, which  is currently blooming with gorgeous botanicals, geodes, and science-inflected objets d’art to purchase.

On July 25, contemporary artist Ellen Gallagher ​will lead a critical walk-though on evolutionary possibilities and discuss her ongoing Watery Ecstatic series in the context of the scientific art on view. Please check the museum website for more information about this and the full complement of fun and fascinating programming in association with this exhibition. (Scientific ink, anyone?)

The second highly anticipated annual Summer Saturday at Lincoln Square is just around the corner on July 21. This popular free event offers artmaking workshops, music, an interactive puppet show, artist demos, and more. So bring the family, come early, and stay all day!

The exhibition Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts opens on July 16 in our Long Island City Self-Taught Genius Gallery. Organized by assistant curator Sarah Margolis-Pineo, the exhibition invites visitors to read quilts as maps that trace the paths of individual stories and experiences, giving shape to our world and our relationships while revealing information about larger historical and cultural trends and moments. The exhibition will include evocative quilts from the museum’s collection as well as quilt-like assemblages by contemporary self-taught artists.

Be sure to check out Brooklyn Rail’s July/August edition, which includes a beautiful reflective essay on the trajectory of self-taught art contributed by Valérie Rousseau, the museum’s curator of self-taught art & art brut.

I’m excited to announce that The Museum Career Internship Program in collaboration with LaGuardia Community College has garnered new support from the New York Community Trust. The museum is very proud that this innovative program continues to change lives as graduates thrive in four-year colleges and forge new career paths.

And last, let’s offer a congratulatory cheer to Anne-Imelda Radice for her important new position as Director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington D.C.

Have a great summer. Please visit us at Lincoln Square and Long Island City. We are always happy to welcome you!

Stacy C. Hollander
Acting Executive Director