This week Duncan talks to Charles Esche, Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Kerstin Niemann, Research Curator at the Van Abbemuseum, and Stephanie Smith, Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smart Museum of Art about the current Smart Museum exhibition, Heartland.
In 2007 and 2008, the Heartland curators, eschewing traditional research methods, set out on a series of old-fashioned road trips through the vast center of the United States. These research trips informed two distinct exhibitions. The first presentation, which opened in October 2008 at the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands, sought to uncover new ways of thinking about the American interior during the U.S. presidential election and gave European audiences access to a broad survey of the Heartland’s culture, art, and music. The second, reconceived presentation at the Smart Museum, offers U.S. audiences a more focused look at the ideals of resourcefulness and invention that permeate the Heartland. Together, the two presentations offer a richly layered reading of a region that has too often been overlooked.
The exhibition is co-organized by the Smart Museum of Art and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The Van Abbemuseum’s presentation of Heartland took place from October 3, 2008 to February 8, 2009. In Eindhoven, the project consisted of a group exhibition in the Van Abbemuseum together with a musical program in the Muziekcentrum Frits Philips.
University of Chicago
Detroit Tree of Heaven Workshop
Charlotte Street Foundation
PDF of Heartland catalog