Visionary New England

Paul Laffoley, Alchemy: The Telenomic Process of the Universe, 1973
Click images for larger view
On View Apr 24, 2020 - Sep 13, 2020
Exhibition Location: Museum

Linde Gallery
2nd floor Galleries
Foster Galleries

Visionary, mystical, and utopian practices are crucial to New England’s culture, history, and character. From the experimental agrarian communities founded in the 1840s, such as Brook Farm and Fruitlands, to the intersections of spiritualism and experimental psychology at the turn of the 20th century, New England has long developed alternative ways of nurturing community, personal growth, and societal reform. Related artists and writers frequently united their intimate connection to nature with a search for access to alternate dimensions or higher powers.

Grounded in this rich history, this exhibition features original commissions and existing artwork by ten contemporary artists who are engaged with these themes. Artists include: Gayleen Aiken, Caleb Charland, Anna Craycroft, Angela Dufresne, Sam Durant, Josephine Halvorson, Paul Laffoley, Michael Madore, Candice Lin, and Kim Weston. Bridging past and present, their work will be shown alongside earlier art and artifacts that speak to these enduring qualities of the region and their relevance today.

A fully-illustrated scholarly publication will be co-distributed by MIT Press.

Organized by Sarah Montross, Senior Curator.

Major funding for the exhibition is provided by the Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related Exhibitions

In association with Visionary New England at deCordova, related art exhibitions at Fruitlands Museum and Fitchburg Art Museum will be on view. This cultural collaboration across three Greater Boston arts institutions will offer visitors a range of art and public programming exploring issues of utopianism and spiritualism, past and present. More information will follow.

After Spiritualism: Loss and Transcendence in Contemporary Art
Fitchburg Art Museum
February 8—June 7, 2020

Recruiting for Utopia: Print and The Imagination
Fruitlands Museum
April 18, 2020—September 20, 2020

La Charada China: Seedling Workshop
Saturday, April 25, 2-4PM

Be part of the Visionary New England installation, La Charada China by Candice Lin. To finish the piece, we invite you to create clay dice filled with seeds that will be thrown onto the artwork as part of the artist's dice game. Over time the clay will melt, exposing the seeds, allowing the plants to sprout all over Lin's piece. REGISTER

New England Seekers: Exploring Utopia and Spiritualism in Art
Wednesday, April 29, 6-7:30PM

Senior Curator, Sarah Montross, leads a gallery talk with Shana Dumont-Garr, curator at Fruitlands Museum, and Lisa Crossman, curator at Fitchburg Art Museum. Walking through the galleries, they will discus spiritualism and its connection to the contemporary art and historic materials on view at deCordova. REGISTER