Remixing the Hall: WCMA’s Collection in Perpetual Transition
Via Zoom meetings and email threads, three WCMA curators came together during the COVID-19 pandemic, protests against racist police brutality, and increasing demands for social reckoning to imagine a representative sample of a collection that is in perpetual transition. “Remixing” described our process, as we selected works of art collaboratively, and launched them from one context into others through interpretation and juxtaposition. We also reflected upon what it means to display objects that entered the collection as a result of colonialism and missionary work, and to do so here in Lawrence Hall, which was built on Mohican land with the proceeds of enslaved Black labor.
Our organizing principle was the ever-present, ever-shifting correspondences between form and meaning in art that allows images to influence and reference each other across time and space. Texts and labels are written in our individual voices, offering additional layers of ekphrastic exegesis. We foreground four broad themes: hybridity; the visualization of power; transcendent states; and the enduring sublimity of water. We invite you to look afresh at the collections we steward and the infinite ways historic objects speak to contemporary questions.
—Horace D. Ballard, Kevin M. Murphy, Elizabeth Sandoval