HOME IS A FOREIGN PLACE
RECENT ACQUISTIONS IN CONTEXT
At the Met Breuer
April 9, 2019 – June 21, 2020
Home Is a Foreign Place highlights recent acquisitions of modern and contemporary art from Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, alongside works by iconic modern American artists from The Met collection. Taking its title from Zarina's 1999 suite of thirty-six woodcuts, this exhibition features art that explores the meanings of "home" and "place" in our increasingly interwoven globe, whether by necessity or choice.
Contemporary art and earlier avant-garde movements of modern art do not have a single origin, nor do they develop in isolation. Since the 1940s, artists have sought new forms of expression as they have lived through culturally transformative events, from devastating wars, social and humanitarian injustices, and mass migration to economic and environmental change. These histories continue to impact and inform the art of our time. In this thematic display, works are united by shared engagements with language, architecture, space, and politics that demonstrate the movement of ideas and identities across cultural and national boundaries. The resulting visual conversations emphasize the significance of parallel artistic impulses in the world and over time, while remaining attentive to the specific local and historical circumstances of their making.
Edgar Heap of Birds, Hock E Aye VI
These works honor three members of the Dakota people who—along with thirty-five others—were hanged by the federal government during the United States–Dakota War of 1862, a conflict caused by U.S. governmental treaty violations and hardship faced by the Dakota owing to white settlement on native lands. Occurring in the region now occupied by the state of Minnesota, it was the largest one-day mass execution in American history, long glossed over or expunged from dominant historical accounts. Heap of Birds calls attention to this injustice in his work, which takes on both memorial and activist functions. By appropriating the graphic treatment and straightforward, institutional language of official signposts, he publicly commemorates these individuals in their native tongue. As such, these works perform a critical task: they reassert a buried history, countering the dominant culture’s amnesia in a manner that is subtle yet hard to ignore.