Each Month We Ask Lead­ing Mu­seum Cu­ra­tors About What’s Go­ing On In Their World.

Western Art Collector - - WESTERN ART NEWS - Judy Goff­man Cut­ler Di­rec­tor and Cu­ra­tor Na­tional Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Il­lus­tra­tion New­port, RI (401) 851-8949 www.amer­i­canil­lus­tra­tion.org

What event (gallery show, mu­seum ex­hibit, etc.) in the next few months are you look­ing for­ward to, and why?

As our cur­rent decade comes to an end in 2019, we thought it would be in­ter­est­ing to re­flect on il­lus­tra­tions from the 1960s to see how times have changed, or stayed the same, over the last 50 years. Open­ing at the NMAI this spring, the ex­hi­bi­tion will give visi­tors a glimpse of world lead­ers, the con­flicts they faced and the events that shaped the pub­lic, in­clud­ing the first land­ing on the moon.

What are you read­ing?

Cur­rently I am read­ing Abi­gail Adams by Woody Holton. Her opin­ions and work to­wards women’s equal­ity dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War and through the turn of the 18th cen­tury is truly re­mark­able. She was a bril­liantly strong woman who can serve as a role model and in­spi­ra­tion to us at this in­te­gral point in our na­tion’s his­tory.

In­ter­est­ing ex­hibit, gallery open­ing or work of art you’ve seen re­cently.

This past sum­mer the NMAI pre­miered an ex­hi­bi­tion show­cas­ing art­works and vin­tage posters from World War I, in honor of the 100th an­niver­sary of the war’s end. The il­lus­tra­tors that vol­un­teered to work for the Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion in­flu­enced the Amer­i­can pub­lic’s opin­ion on the war and pro­moted one of three pri­mary goals: to raise money, to con­serve food and re­sources or to pro­mote en­list­ment and pa­tri­o­tism. The ex­hi­bi­tion high­lighted a mostly for­got­ten and un­der­val­ued as­pect of the war fought from the United States’ shores.

What are you re­search­ing at the mo­ment?

We are plan­ning a large ex­hi­bi­tion to cel­e­brate the 100th an­niver­sary of the pas­sage of the 19th Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion, grant­ing women the right to vote, de­but­ing in sum­mer 2020. The ex­hi­bi­tion and its cor­re­spond­ing cat­a­log will high­light women’s chang­ing role in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety over the past 100 years in the hopes of con­tin­u­ing progress to­wards equal­ity for all. We are very much look­ing for­ward to this project, which will also be the NMAI’S 20th an­niver­sary, and I have en­joyed be­gin­ning to re­search this crit­i­cal, and timely, topic.

What is your dream ex­hibit to cu­rate? Or see some­one else cu­rate?

I would like to see il­lus­tra­tions more widely in­cluded in non­spe­cific Amer­i­can art ex­hi­bi­tions. The il­lus­tra­tors stud­ied and worked among many of Amer­ica’s great 20th cen­tury artists, but their art­works are rarely com­pared be­cause of the neg­a­tiv­ity from art crit­ics of the time. Now that pub­lic opin­ions are shift­ing, I think it would be in­ter­est­ing to ex­plore the in­flu­ences these two groups of artists, work­ing at the same time and place, had on each other.

The Na­tional Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Il­lus­tra­tion in New­port, Rhode Is­land.

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