HHT & Contemporary Art Partnerships
Contemporary art within historic house settings invites thought and encourages perspective. New materials and forms provide an unexpected juxtaposition and site specific art interweaves with and enhances historic interpretation.
From poetry and performance art to theatre and touchable sculpture, the HHT Contemporary Art Partnerships program facilitated and supported art installations at our partner houses. Many of HHT's partner historic house museums have been installing temporary contemporary art pieces for decades, but this program allowed HHT to work together with these sites to attract new audiences, create innovative and inclusive programming, and celebrate their missions.
LIGHT SPECTRUM, 2017
Queens-based artist Antonia A. Perez brought her piece, Light Spectrum, to the garden of the Lewis Latimer House Museum on April 15, 2017. Supported by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, Light Spectrum drew the viewer’s attention to the science of light and color. The sculpture was composed of repurposed lampshade frames through which natural light is filtered. Covered with a colorful new skin of crocheted plastic, the frames referenced their former purpose in shading electric light, now transformed as a means of displaying the rainbow colors of the spectrum.
In conjunction with the garden exhibit, the Latimer House hosted Wavelength, a reading event inspired by the sculpture. The Queens Writers Lab read pieces that explored the interplay between secret and illuminated spaces and how the unseen is made manifest. In June there was a free crochet workshop that took place inside the museum. Taught by Antonia A. Perez, the workshop offered fun hands-on activities for the public, who learned the same technique that the artist used to make the sculpture. The associated public events of Light Spectrum were made possible in part by the Historic House Trust’s Contemporary Art Partnerships program, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Community Trust.
MONUMENT TO THE UNELECTED, 2016
Nina Katchadourian’s Monument to the Unelected at Prospect Park’s Lefferts Historic House Museum was a temporary installation, consisting of 58 signs bearing the names of the losing candidates from every presidential election in American history. It was on view from November 5-13 on the house’s lawn facing Flatbush Avenue. The installation coincides with the 2016 presidential election, and once the results were official, it eventually included a sign with the name of the losing candidate. The Alliance presented a mock election and programming for youth at the house on Election Day.
WISHING WELL, 2016
Wishing Well, 2016 by Amanda Long at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum allowed participants to speak a wish into the well. Their wish was translated into a video ripple inside the well, and audio recordings of their wishes were collected in a database within the sculpture. The wishes were curated and presented on www.wishingwellnyc.org to extend the artwork beyond the site.
Art 21 Magazine
Thread Lines was a dynamic artist-in-residency program with Farida Sedoc at the Wyckoff House Museum, exploring relationships with fabric, fibers, and textiles through shared cultural heritage between the Netherlands, the Americas, and the Caribbean.
ART THIS HOUSE, 2015
Designated a New York City landmark in 1969, the Boehm House at Historic Richmond Town was covered in temporary murals for the Art This House project.
The project reached out to muralists and large format artists in the New York City area through local arts organizations and community based groups. Ed Wiseman, Executive Director of Historic Richmond Town, said, “We received a number of terrific submissions from accomplished artists. Two artists popped. They are bold and unique. The finished works will elevate the project and complement each other. It’s a rare opportunity. The artists get to express their view of America in a mural on a house. How cool is that?”
The winning artists Mark Salinas and Joseph Barral were selected from the large palette of compelling proposals. The artists used tinted primer on each side of the house, meeting in the middle, displaying their interpretations of the American experience. The muralists had their progress documented on social media using the hashtag #ArtThisHouse. The murals remained up for a few months before the house returned to its original color. Click here to view the progress from start to finish.