Fenimore Art Museum
Attitudes toward childhood changed radically in 19th-century America. Whereas in the 17th century the Puritan conception of the child was of a miniature adult beset by innate evil, societal attitudes gradually underwent a positive evolution. Under the influence of the European Enlightenment and the American Revolution, a new appreciation of childhood emerged and flourished. A belief in the innocence of youth supplanted earlier prejudices, and an interest in child development became a predominant issue of American popular debate.
In the Southwest United States, pottery-making began about two thousand years ago and became a powerful form of expression. Women created a wide range of hand-coiled vessels including serving dishes and storage vessels for water, food, and seeds. Pottery was painted with imagery inspired by the everyday world and the cosmos. Southwest pottery making has remained vibrant to the present day.
Between 1825 and 1875 a distinctive style of landscape painting emerged that all but replaced portraiture as the premier focus of painting in the United States. The group of artists who adopted this style is now loosely-termed as the Hudson River School. The scenery of New England and upstate New York was their earliest subject matter.
The images of African Americans at Fenimore Art Museum offer insights into the ways that Americans in the past viewed one another; how artistic representations of black people created and reinforced popular attitudes; and how these attitudes continue to affect us today. This is not simply a story for African Americans, but for all of us, because the issues represented in this exhibition—identity, self-portrayal, survival, resistance, and stereotyping—are issues that relate to each individual who has ever wondered about their own identity and to every group that has entered this country.
Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y.
The images of African Americans at the Fenimore Art Museum offer insights into the ways that Americans in the past viewed one another; how artistic representations of black people created and reinforced popular attitudes; and how these attitudes continue to affect us today.
This exhibition will feature ceramic pots by Peter B. Jones and collages by George Longfish. Both are contemporary Iroquois artists.
Guest Curator G. Peter Jemison (Seneca) is the Site Manager for Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, New York, the location of a seventeenth-century Seneca town.
This selection of New York state bird’s-eye views dates from the 1850s to 1890. During the second half of the 19th century, especially after the Civil War, the most common type of city view was drawn from an imaginary perspective high in the air. Bird’s-eye views appealed to local pride and the desire to promote one’s community. After the Civil War, firms specializing in bird’s-eye views employed itinerant artists to travel the country to make illustrations of large cities and small towns alike.
The complex relationship between distinct cultures creates a remarkable dynamic, especially when one culture attempts to make a pictorial record of the other. The exaggerations and inaccuracies of the resultant imagery can have an intense impact on both cultures. For America and most of the world, the Great Plains evokes images of painted tipis, savage buffalo hunts, and warriors on horseback wearing elaborate feather headdresses.