The themes relevant across art history, are still relevant today. And they will still be relevant tomorrow. This is what Gina Wouters conveys to visitors in her new show Continuity of Context: Five Artists in Dialogue with Cheekwood’s Collection. Through this exhibition, Wouters introduces Cheekwood’s visitors to transhistorical curating. To put it simply, this refers to the blend of old and new art.
The Frans Hals Museum and the M-Museum have embraced the trend creating the “Transhistorical Museum: Objects, Narratives, and Temporalities,” a research project and forum dedicated to discussing the trend of transhistorical exhibition practice, defined as “a diverse range of curatorial efforts in which objects and artifacts from various periods and art historical and cultural contexts are combined in display, in order to question and expand traditional museological notions like chronology, context, and category.”
Continuity of Context challenges our historical assumptions. Objects are freed from temporality and chronology and can be viewed for their capacity of aesthetic and contextual evocation. With this type of curating, a work by Vadis Turner from 2018 can speak with and to a work by Lemuel Everett Wilmarth from 1882. The Wilmarth is entitled Who Wins May Wear. By bringing this work out of storage in 2018. A seemingly innocent title in 1882 can take on a new meaning. What is the prize?
Transhistorical curating also consents Severin Roesen’s Still Life with Fruit to be on view with Alex Lockwood’s Spinners, Swingers and Shakers. Formal similarities and conceptual affinities are valued more than the routine art historical boundaries.
Transhistorical curating makes us look at art like an artist. We begin to notice the links, connections and influences between the past and the present. To further this notion to the future, five university seniors were selected to continue the conversation. The fall exhibition Continuity of Context showcases the work of living artists continuing conceptual and visual conversations explored by artists found in the canons of art history. This program extends the impetus of the show by inviting students to continue those dialogues between the past, present and future. With help from the following professors, Alicia Henry from Fisk University, Jana Harper from Vanderbilt University and Kristi Hargrove from Watkins College of Art, students were selected for this endeavor. Keziah Oliver represented Fisk, Aiden Layer and Lauren Sobota represented Vanderbilt and Kevin Dietz and Henry Jeck represented Watkins. The students are all seniors in undergraduate programs and are at the point where they are honing their skills and beginning their own artistic journeys. Through Extended Dialogues, Cheekwood becomes a resource and platform for these students. Please see work below from the inaugural Cheekwood ED: Extended Dialogues.
By breaking down the barriers that divide historical art and contemporary art, each is given space to be reassess the object in a larger context.
Continuity of Context: Five Artists in Dialogue with Cheekwood’s Collection
is on view through January 6.