Our America/Whose America?

Ferrin Contemporary | North Adams, MA August 6 - October 30, 2022

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION


Opening Reception: Aug. 11, 5-7 pm

Throughout our forty year history, we have used multi-artist survey exhibitions as a platform to explore social issues. We’ve focused on gender and feminist perspectives, broached relationship taboos, and challenged historical notions of ceramics and art. Last summer we partnered with Heller Gallery to present MELTING POINT as a way to use the mediums of ceramic and glass to address issues surrounding climate change. Now, it is time to turn our lens on the racist representations in mass market ceramics.

Our America, Whose America will present a dialogue between contemporary artists and a collection of commercially produced ceramics. This collection of historical objects, collected across the span of several years by Founding Director Leslie Ferrin, are in the form of plates, souvenirs, and figurines from the early 19th through mid-20th centuries. The items were produced in England, Occupied Japan, and various factories in the USA. The exhibition title was chosen from a series of plates produced by Vernon Kiln that features illustrations of American scenes by the painter Rockwell Kent.

In response to this historical collection, contemporary works by nearly 30 participating artists will provide new context and interpretation of these profoundly powerful objects. Seen now, decades and in some cases centuries later, the narratives they deliver through image, characterization, and stereotype, whether overt and bombastic or subtle and cunning, form a collective memory that continues to impact the way people see themselves and others today.

The contemporary artists we’ve invited use their work to assert their autonomy and subjectivity by presenting intertwined cultural critiques through lenses of their own choosing, starting with race, gender, and class. Each of these categories is tentacular and touch upon myriad other ideas including nature, warfare, food and water inequity, and more.

Our America/Whose America? Is a “call and response” exhibition between contemporary artists and historic ceramic objects. View the historic collection here.

AUGUST 6 – OCTOBER 30, 2022


Ferrin Contemporary | 1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA

EVENTS


OPENING RECEPTION

Thursday, August. 11, 5-7 pm
during Building 13 Art Walk

Please stay to visit our upstairs neighbors, The Artist Book Foundation and Assets for Artists, during their reception events this same night/time & then stick around for drinks, food, and merriment at The Chalet at MASS MoCA from 6 – 10 pm

Open Studios at Assets for Artists – August 11
The Chalet Thursday nights through Sept. 8
all on the MASS MoCA campus, North Adams

Image: Salvador Jiménez-Flores, A Hand Gesture to Systemic Racism: Al que le quede el saco que se lo ponga

ON VIEW IN THE BERKSHIRES

IMPRINTED: ILLUSTRATING RACE
defining exhibition of the history of race in illustration, ceramics and its use by contemporary artists featuring works by Elizabeth Alexander, Garth Johnson, Paul Scott
Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA
on view through October 31, 2022

SERGEI ISUPOV: PROXIMAL DUALITY
solo exhibition and outdoor sculpture
TurnPark Art Space, West Stockbridge, MA
on view through October 31, 2022

NEW AMERICAN SCENERY: THE ART OF PAUL SCOTT
solo exhibition of ceramics, prints in context with permanent collection and Hudson River School paintings
Albany Institute of History & Art in Albany, NY
August 13 – December 31, 2022



AT MASS MoCA

KELLI RAE ADAMS: FOREVER IN YOUR DEBT
on view through 2022
Artist kelli rae adams will be on site to discuss her installation Forever in Your Debt and to accept contributions of coins from interested participants on weekends in August 1-4pm.

CERAMICS IN THE EXPANDED FIELD
on view through March 2023
eight artists who are changing the way we think of clay:  Nicole Cherubini, Armando Guadalupe Cortés, Francesca DiMattio, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Kahlil Robert Irving, Anina Major, Rose B. Simpson, and Linda Sormin.