Everywhere and Here

September 17—November 20, 2021

Artspace New Haven is proud to announce the opening of EVERYWHERE AND HERE: Artists Respond to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History Collection, a group exhibition of work by artists Martha Friedman, Anina Major, Brittany Nelson, Cauleen Smith, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen.

Each artist was invited to search the Peabody database, working closely with collection managers to learn more about select objects in the collection. The exhibition includes newly commissioned work by each artist presented beside the masks, fabrics, household goods, and meteorites pulled from the collection. While the Peabody Museum is currently under renovation until 2024, the exhibition provides an opportunity for visitors to see the one-of-a-kind selections, hailing from the Pacific Isles, the Caribbean, North Africa, and Mars.

Martha Friedman’s recent material experiments led to her interest in the historical process of mummification. The Peabody Museum’s Egyptian collection managers provided her with the access and information to recreate the detailed folding and overlapping of linen cloth over the facial area. The technique, combined with her use of glass and gold leaf, embodies the delicate and valuable nature of the burial process. Anina Major’s carefully selected objects illuminate cultural connections across the African diaspora, specifically from The Bahamas. A gourd container adorned with raffia and cowrie shells, a truncated triangular flat woven basket, and clay shards heavily tempered with shells, provide the material framework for her installation. Inspired by the seemingly distinct archaeological records of the objects, Major creates a sculptural narrative reminiscent of the spiritual and ecological landscape.  Brittany Nelson’s series of photographs take inspiration from archives on earth and beyond. Images of meteorite dust clouds on Mars, taken by the Curiosity Mars Rover, are aligned with letters exchanged between science fiction writers James Tiptree Jr. (really Alice B. Sheldon) and Ursula Le Guin. Nelson uses histories of the future to imagine queer futurisms, explore ecofeminist possibilities, and understand the links between space, gender, and sexuality. Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s videography project doubly challenges Modern European thought: its historically upheld subject-object dualism as well as its present-day capitalist repercussions. Utilizing animistic masks found in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and elsewhere, and studying the history of makeshift masking in protest movements then and now, Nguyen’s mask videos trespass the boundaries between conscious subjectivity and unconscious objectification, essentialism and non-essentialism, the self and nature. Discovered in the first witnessed meteorite fall in North America, by the first North American science professor, Yale’s Benjamin Silliman, the 12.8 kg Weston meteorite takes center stage in Cauleen Smith’s installation.