Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the founding of The Frick Art Museum and 30th anniversary of Clayton’s restoration and public opening, we are turning a critical eye toward our permanent collection this fall. The Frick Reflects will examine the social context in which the Frick family lived, the perspective with which Helen Clay Frick founded the institution, and the values and viewpoints the collection reveals, sometimes unwittingly. Succinctly stated by activists La Tanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski in their global advocacy initiative, “Museums are not neutral.” Our collection originates from a place of inherent privilege and bias. The Gilded Age was golden for only some. Though it coincides with the Progressive Era, it is also a period of immense disparities in wealth, strained class relations, violent labor conflicts, nativism and xenophobia, Jim Crow, and segregation. Turning the spotlight on rarely seen objects from Clayton and The Frick Art Museum, this project will consider the collection from new perspectives and acknowledge and confront the inherent privilege and bias it represents while envisioning what kind of museum the Frick can be in the future. In this way, the exhibition will invite visitors to participate in the institution’s reckoning and shape the museum’s path forward.
The Frick Reflects
Dates:November 8, 2020 - February 7, 2021
Location:The Frick Art Museum
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Photo: Craig McPherson (American, b. 1948). Clairton, From the Hill, 2006 (detail). Graphite on paper. Frick Art & Historical Center 2019.1.