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17 Jan 2024

New Exhibition ‘Somewhere to Roost’ to Open at American Folk Art Museum

(New York, New York) Somewhere to Roost will be on view at the American Folk Art Museum (2 Lincoln Sq., Columbus Ave. at W. 65th St.) from April 12, 2024, through May 25, 2025. 

Featuring over 60 works including paintings, textiles, photographs, and sculptures, the exhibition will explore the ways that artists evoke and construct ideas of “home.” The exhibition is curated by Brooke Wyatt, Luce Assistant Curator at the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM). 

“The idea of ‘home’ conjures complex and sometimes contradictory emotions – including those related to family and belonging, as well as confinement, loss, and uncertainty,” said Wyatt. By considering a diverse group of artworks through this thematic lens, the exhibition will examine the ways that artists grapple with these nuanced concepts.” 

The exhibition’s title is drawn from an artwork by Thornton Dial, Sr. (1928–2016), Birds Got to Have Somewhere to Roost,” which will be among the works on view. Reflecting on this statement, the exhibition will explore the importance of rest, comfort, and safety, while considering the poetic and unspecified nature of the word “somewhere.” Taken both literally and metaphorically, Somewhere to Roost represents spaces where artists live and work, as well as places remembered, imagined, or dreamed. The exhibition will highlight experiences of immigration, incarceration, and housing insecurity, as well as visions of home that are playful, inventive, and unexpected.

Drawn from AFAM’s collection, Somewhere to Roost will feature works by artists such as James Castle, Clementine Hunter, Ammi Phillips, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Joseph E. Yoakum. Some works will be replaced throughout the duration of the exhibition, allowing new perspectives to be regularly introduced.

“We are thrilled to explore artworks in the AFAM collection through this powerful and fascinating lens,” Jason T. Busch, AFAM’s Becky and Bob Alexander Director & CEO. “I continue to be inspired by the work Brooke has done to tell new stories about folk and self-taught artists across time and place.” 

Somewhere to Roost is the third in a series of thematic shows drawn from the Museum’s collection and generously supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The exhibitions each showcase works that promote an expansive history of American art. The first exhibition, Material Witness: Folk and Self-Taught Artists at Work (March 17, 2023–October 29, 2023), featured over 150 objects and explored how artists learn with and through material engagement. The second exhibition, Marvels of My Own Inventiveness, (November 15, 2023–March 24, 2024) explores the artistic self-expression of Black makers working in and around abstraction across dimensions of line, color, composition, and mark making. Exhibitions supported by the Henry Luce Foundation are presented in the Museum’s Daniel Cowin Gallery. 

About the American Folk Art Museum

Founded in 1961, the American Folk Art Museum engages people of all backgrounds through its collections, exhibitions, publications, and programs as the leading forum shaping the understanding and appreciation of folk and self-taught artists across time and place.

About the Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. A leader in art funding since 1982, the Luce Foundation’s American Art Program supports innovative museum projects nationwide that advance art-centered conversations that celebrate creativity, explore difference, and seek common ground. Learn more at http://www.hluce.org.