NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Just Opened an Afrofuturism Style Room

Nyc’S Metropolitan Museum Of Art Just Opened An Afrofuturism Style Room

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is literally giving way to the real, lived history of Seneca Village, the once thriving community founded by free black New Yorkers that existed between 1820 and 1850 just a few hundred yards west of The Met.

The period rooms in the museum have exhibited furniture and delicate artifacts from the European Rococo era to the American Federalist style, but now they will contain a permanent room representing Afrofuturism – the African and African diasporic belief that the past, present and future are connected.

The space, conceived and designed by chief curator and designer Hannah Beachler (known for her work on Black Panther and Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” video) and Senior Exhibition Designer Fabiana Weinberg, includes a 19th-century wood-frame home that contains works by The Met’s American Wing reminiscent of potsherds and remains of Seneca Village found in 2011. future with the past in mind, artwork and design from the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art intersperse throughout the space, as do contemporary furniture, photography, and ceramics adjacent to The Met’s Michael C. Rockefeller Wing.

Photo: Anna-Marie Kellen, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Before Yesterday We Could Fly” also features recent acquisitions made especially for the project, including works by Ini Archibong, Andile Dyalvane, Yinka Ilori, Cyrus Kabiru, Roberto Lugo, Chuma Maweni, Zizipho Poswa, Jomo Tariku, Tourmaline, and Atang Tshikare . There are also animations by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Fabiola Jean-Louis and Jenn Nkiru.

The title is inspired by Virginia Hamilton’s retellings of the “Flying African” story, which celebrates the imagination of enslaved people, the creative use of flight, and the significance of spirituality and mysticism to black communities amid great uncertainty, says the Of.

The period room “celebrates the ingenuity, artistry and determination of people of African descent and reconfigures how we think about space, place and time,” said Consulting Curator Dr. Michelle Commander. “The untold story of Seneca Village underscores that we are walking on sacred ground here in New York City. Aspects of our history often fall out of conversation because of the passage of time. In other cases, they have been effectively buried or deliberately silenced. When As these important histories emerge, we must pay tribute to those who came for whose lives and sacrifices paved the way for our being.In this room of time, archival and archaeological truths meet an array of art from different ages, cultures and geographies. With the guidance of informed speculation, we envision what was, what could have been, and what is yet to come.”

Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room” is now open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Gallery 508 on the first floor.

We Could Fly Before Yesterday: An Afrofuturistic Style Room
Photo: Anna-Marie Kellen, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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