Today at the American Folk Art Museum we got to experience the new installation entitled “A Shared Legacy” independently and with our peers. The artwork depicts the growth of new cultural and social norms in 19th century America. New traditions, values, and ways of everyday life began to develop, which forever altered the country as a whole. We were given the task of identifying the main themes that the artwork presents and then themes were chosen to base our final tours around. Some themes that were identified by myself and my fellow interns were: capitalism, a growing middle class, death, farming/food, sickness, religion, and family. All of these themes can be seen in the family portraits full of symbolism, the often used trade figures, the intricate furniture, and so many more interesting pieces that are a part of this fascinating installation. The class today was very successful and many very interesting points were raised regarding “A Shared Legacy” which is why I can’t wait to see everyone’s final tours!
In class, we separated from the group with the partner we previously had chosen. The class as a whole jotted down possible themes we could use to classify the art. Each group had many overlaps with the themes. Some major themes we came across were family, death, tradition, political affairs, etc. Each pair was limited to four pieces of art, which had to be categorized into a theme of their choice. Specifically, my partner and I used the themes of death, family, entertainment, and tradition. We had a hard time trying to choose a theme from the beginning so we had to work backwards, we first chose the painting and then categorized it into a theme. Overall, we had a very good time and enjoyed categorizing the art into a theme, as well as learning more of the pieces of art as a whole.