Saying the V-word

Quite a few of our staff are gearing up for several days in New York as we are providing the loan exhibition at this year’s Winter Antiques Show, happening January 24-February 2 at the Park Avenue Armory. This is a distinction previously held by Newport Historical Society, the Shelburne Museum and The Met.

Please enjoy this online version of Karina Corrigan’s story Ebony and Ivory in the January issue of The Magazine Antiques. As our curator of Asian Export Art, Corrigan gives us the fascinating history and background of one of the featured highlights in our exhibition Fresh Take: Making Connections at Peabody Essex Museum.

The piece is all about this armchair from Vizagapatam, India, c. 1760 – 1770, which prompted the editors of The Magazine Antiques to request a video, where members of our staff attempt to pronounce the not-so pronounceable word Vizagapatam.




Saying the V-word from The Magazine ANTIQUES on Vimeo.

Our loan exhibition is all about making connections that span our origins to the present. Fresh Take, Making Connections at the Peabody Essex Museum is a microcosm of the PEM experience. Our curators have spent months sifting through the museum’s 1.8 million objects to choose the perfect pieces to tell our story, which dates back to 1799 when several of America’s first entrepreneurs in a young United States founded Salem’s East India Marine Society.

Works of art from diverse cultures and time periods are grouped together in unexpected ways. This prompted another article from The Magazine Antiques with this statement.

“What can be said with certainty is that PEM remains our most curious museum in every good sense of that word — an unusually open place dedicated to asking questions, especially questions that unlock the past and charge it with newness.”

This multi-page spread  Talking Past and Present  is the result of five artists, eight PEM curators and the two magazine editors spending two days exploring the museum through these artists’ eyes to consider how art in our time can be presented and experienced.

From Kent Monkman, a Canadian artist of Cree descent — whose work was featured in our 2012 Shapeshifting exhibition — to Cuban native María Magdalena Campos-Pons, who turned up at the Venice Biennale last spring in Piazza San Marco, “carrying a birdcage on her head, her face pow­dered white, her dress an amalgam of cultures,” our invited artists were quick to find inspiring connections at PEM.

monkman at PEM

Kent Monkman with his video installation, Theatre de Cristal, 2007 during PEM’s 2012 Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art exhibition. Courtesy of Kent Monkman.

For more on the Winter Antiques Show, see this featured piece Navigating the Nocturnal on our astrolabe, a beautiful object made of iron once used by mariners to navigate the seas with the stars above. So many meetings centered around choosing these objects led me to actually DREAM about our astrolabe.

Stay tuned for more posts from our curators and staff as they navigate the Winter Antiques Show.



One Comment

  1. Indira Karamcheti says:

    Dear Karina Corrigan,

    I am a professor of American Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. and am currently teaching a class on New England and its role in the development of the U.S. into an imperial power. (I was in fact born in Vizaghapatnam, India.) I had hoped to hear your lecture today at the Winter Antiques Show in New York: “The Other Export Arts: Indian Export Textiles and Luxury Goods for America,” but will not be able to attend. Is there a copy of your lecture I could have (I’d be happy to pay costs)? Is there a catalogue available?

    I hope to hear from you, Indira Karamcheti
    American Studies Department
    Wesleyan University
    Middletown, CT 06459
    (860) 685-3625

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