December 2011 Exhibitions Announced At N-Y Historical Society

December 2011 Exhibitions Announced At N-Y Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society, one of America's pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

New-York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; and the 2009 exhibition Lincoln and New York. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs are one of the world's greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.

TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS:

REVOLUTION! THE ATLANTIC WORLD REBORN

November 11, 2011 - April 15, 2012

The path-breaking exhibition Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn, is the first exhibition to relate the American, French and Haitian struggles as a single global narrative. Spanning decades of enormous political and cultural changes, from the triumph of British imperial power in 1763 to the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, Revolution! traces how an ideal of popular sovereignty, introduced through the American fight for independence, soon sparked more radical calls for a recognition of universal human rights, and set off attacks on both sides of the Atlantic against hereditary privilege and slavery. Texts and audio guides are in English, French and Haitian Krèyol. Highlights on view:

the original Stamp Act as it was passed by Parliament in 1765, setting off the riots that led to the American Revolution, on loan from the Parliamentary Archives, London, displayed for the first time outside the U.K.

the only known surviving copy of the first printing of the Haitian Declaration of Independence (1804, National Archives, London), recently discovered and exhibited here to the public for the first time

Napoleon's authorization to French negotiators to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States (1803, New-York Historical Society), as a direct consequence of the Haitian rebellion

MAKING AMERICAN TASTE: NARRATIVE ART FOR A NEW DEMOCRACY

November 11, 2011 - April 1, 2012

Featuring 55 works from the New-York Historical's great collection, Making American Taste will cast new light on both the history of American art and the formation of American cultural ideals during a crucial period from roughly the 1830s to the late 1860s. The exhibition includes the long-awaited debut after conservation of Louis Lang's famed monumental history painting of 1862: Return of the 69th (Irish Regiment) from the Sea of War. The painting is a centerpiece of our commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

FREEDOM NOW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY PLATON

November 11, 2011 - April 15, 2012

This installation of large-scale images by the celebrated photographer Platon, gives the historic struggle of the 1950s and 1960s a stirring contemporary presence. Julian Bond-statesman, professor, writer and a leader in the Civil Rights movement-has written a personal introduction to the exhibition. Among the subjects of the photographs are the Little Rock Nine, whose attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School in 1957 became a national cause celebre; Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain, participants in the 1960 Greensboro lunch-counter sit-in; Southern Christian Leadership Conference members Joseph Lowery, Fred Shuttlesworth, C.T. Vivian and Andrew Young; Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee leaders James Lawson, Robert Moses and Diane Nash; Chris and Maxine McNair, parents of Denise McNair, murdered in the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church; Black Panthers Kathleen Cleaver, Emory Douglas and Bobby Rush; Muhammad Ali; Harry Belafonte; Congressman John Lewis; and Jesse Jackson, Sr.

Treasures of Shearith Israel

November 11, 2011 - ongoing

In the midst of the American Revolution, two British soldiers broke into the Mill Street Synagogue and desecrated two Torah Scrolls. The place of worship was home to Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, founded by a group of Sephardic Jews in 1654. Remarkably, the Torah scrolls survived the act of vandalism. One of them is displayed at the New-York Historical Society, on loan from Congregation Shearith Israel in the City of New York-The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue.

Other objects and documents from the incomparable collection of Congregation Shearith Israel (established 1654), including manuscripts, maps, liturgical treasures, and historical artifacts, will be featured in the The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture.

The history of New York's Jewish presence began in 1654 with the arrival of twenty-three refugees of Sephardic ancestry from Recife, Brazil. Soon after their arrival the group established a congregation, the first in North America. This foundation was the beginning of a rich legacy that has culminated in the growth of what is now one of the largest Jewish communities in the world, and, importantly, set the stage for the religious and ethnic diversity for which our city and nation are known.




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by Barry Kostrinsky