Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art

    Event Details

    September 6, 2019, 8:00AM – January 20, 2020, 8:00AM
    Harvard Art Museums
    32 Quincy Street
    Cambridge, MA, United States

    Event Info

    Special Exhibitions Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

    What does it mean to be displaced from culture and home? What are the historical contexts for understanding our contemporary moment? How does an artist’s work and process embody and engage the narratives of displacement and belonging?

    Crossing Lines, Constructing Home investigates two parallel ideas: national, political, and cultural conceptions of boundaries and borders; and the evolving hybrid spaces, identities, languages, and beliefs created by the movement of peoples.

    While offering historical context and a consideration of the forces that commonly drive migration, such as political instability, natural disasters, and oppression linked to race, religion, culture, and class, the exhibition presents a more complicated narrative about immigration and displacement than the usual rhetoric that dominates the public sphere and polarizes debate. Crossing Lines unsettles accepted notions of what constitutes a boundary and of what characterizes the migrant or refugee experience—in part by exploring how culture can persist and be embraced despite displacement. Acknowledging passage as a space of both trauma and transformation, the exhibition opens up new ways of understanding the immigrant experience.

    Rather than aiming for an encyclopedic approach to the topic, the curators have sought to frame this metaphoric intervention through a range of experiences and geographies, all while staying focused on historical specificity and individual experience.

    The more than 40 works in the exhibition, all but one drawn from the museums’ permanent collections, reflect a global community of contemporary artists, including sculpture by Do Ho Suh, Bosco Sodi, and Emily Jacir; photographs by Richard Misrach, Jim Goldberg, Graciela Iturbide, and Serena Chopra; prints by Zarina Hashmi; a large work mixing photosilkscreen and drawing by Eugenio Dittborn; a slide projection by Candida Höfer; and a video installation by Willie Doherty.

    Curated by Mary Schneider Enriquez, Houghton Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums.

    Special event during exhibition: Coffee with curators

    • Hours: 9:15am – 11:00am
    • Date: September 28, 2019

    Supporters and their guests are invited to join curators for coffee and light refreshments in the Calderwood Courtyard followed by a talk about our latest special exhibition.


    Appearing Artists