Dear Members and Friends,
Happy autumn! On the first full day of the new season, we are thrilled to be opening Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered, a must-see exhibition that has made its way onto the fall preview lists for The New York Times, Hyperallergic, and New York Magazine. With loans from private and public collections, including key works from AFAM, the show features over 40 of Hirshfield’s paintings – in many cases, for the first time in 75 years. The exhibition and accompanying book, which is available at the Museum Shop, goes into depth about the artist’s life, his success as a business person, as well as the reverence artworld luminaries like Peggy Guggenheim and cutting-edge artists like Marcel Duchamp held for the paintings Hirshfield produced.
It is with huge thanks to Richard Meyer, author, curator, and professor, who has championed this project and Susan Davidson, curatorial advisor, for their work in raising the level of scholarship and public recognition of Hirshfield’s status as an essential twentieth century self-taught artist. I also commend our own Senior Curator of Self-Taught Art and Art Brut, Valérie Rousseau, who has been the show’s champion within AFAM. Her tireless work to coordinate the exhibition at New York’s only museum dedicated to art by folk and self-taught artists has been exemplary.
As we open our doors this fall, I am mindful of the amazing exhibition that just closed in our galleries, MULTITUDES, and the tens of thousands of people who were our guests during its nearly eight month run. This exhibition of over 400 objects was organized in celebration of AFAM’s 60th anniversary and brought together some of our latest acquisitions with well-known works from our collection to present an in-depth and captivating story about our Museum.
The past summer months have been energizing with our exhibitions as well as our learning and engagement programs. Youth Art Connection, our decade-long program for high school students who live in or attend classes in Queens, has met in person and benefited from the educational resources provided from the Museum’s estimable Learning and Engagement team. Through the support of the Mellon Foundation and our partnership with LaGuardia Community College, we have selected our eighth cohort of students who will each have a paid, academically accredited, year-long internship at the Museum starting this month.
Meanwhile, four AFAM touring exhibitions open this season: American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection at The Frick Pittsburgh; Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts at The Lightner Museum in St. Augustine and Pointe Verde, Florida; Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Objects from the American Folk Art Museum at the Hoyt Art Center in New Castle, Pennsylvania; and Wall Power! Spectacular Quilts from the American Folk Art Museum at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, New York. I hope you will have the opportunity to see one of more of these shows, each of which is drawn exclusively from AFAM’s collection.
Closer to home, AFAM has lent nearly two dozen works of art to the show Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe at the Brooklyn Museum, and is credited as an exhibition partner. In the first week of September, AFAM was also prominently recognized in Roberta Smith’s review of the Brooklyn exhibition.
On its own, our current show about Morris Hirshfield is truly fabulous. But coupled with upcoming and ongoing initiatives, exhibitions, programs, and events, we are continuing the vision of our founders and heading into the next phase of our Museum’s future with vigor. If you want to get involved with AFAM, please contact me or one of my colleagues at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you well as we start the fall!
See you in the galleries,