Celebrated American artist, poet, and activist Vanessa German continues her artist-in-residence work at the Frick. Reckoning: Place and Imagination will feature her latest outdoor sculpture, Of Thee We Sing, recently displayed on the National Mall as part of the Mellon Foundation's Beyond Granite series this summer. The sculpture will then travel directly to The Frick Pittsburgh!
Of Thee We Sing, evokes operatic contralto Marian Anderson's 1939 concert on the National Mall in then segregated Washington, D.C. A native of Philadelphia, Anderson is one of the most celebrated African American singers, overcoming racial barriers and prejudice. Just a few years after her concert on the National Mall, in 1942, she performed in Pittsburgh at the Syria Mosque, singing arias by Handel, Bach, and Brahms.
The sculpture, along with other Beyond Granite series works, asks viewers to consider what stories are heralded in American history, and which remain untold. Of Thee We Sing is a powerful meditation on whose experiences are elevated and valued in cultural spaces, and how museums can serve as sites of remembrance and social healing.
Artist-in-Residence Vanessa German's Reckoning series is a creative partnership, established in March 2021 with the installation of German's multisensory sculptural work Reckoning: Grief and Light in The Frick Art Museum. Reckoning: Grief and Light will continue to be on display at The Frick Art Museum throughout the showing of Of Thee We Sing.