My goal for this past winter break was to go to a museum – MoMA, the Met, or even a smaller local one, it didn’t matter. However, the spike of COVID made this difficult for me, and I was unable to go. While I believe there is so much importance in physically going to museums, I’ve found that many of these museums are accessible online, and this provides a great way to fuel your creativity when museusm are physically inaccessible.
Recently, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City posted on their Instagram about their collaboration with AHRC’s ArTech Collective with an exhibition called “How Are You?”. AHRC ArTech Collective provides the opportunity for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to express their ideas through artistic means and enable them to grow as artists. Over the past year, the ArTech Collection worked with MoMA and created a program in which participants met once a week virtually to talk about the artists and works in MoMA’s collection as well as their own work. They were the instructed to create art based on the question, “How are you?”, allowing them to reflect on the current situations throughout the past year, such as COVID cases, activism, and politics.
Here are some images of the installation provided by MoMA’s website. Since I can’t see this exhibit in person right now, I decided I wanted to look into the artists. Luckily, ArTech Collective’s website features all of their artists! There are almost 30 artists listed on their website, each complete with an array of artwork. I’ll be sharing three of them with you today, but be sure to check out their website to learn about all of the other amazing artists at ArTech Collective.
Maria Alcantara is mixed media artist from the Bronx. She creates sculptured using both manufactured and natural materials, such as seashells. Her sculpture, Web (image 1), was created with stringed beads. Caracoles (image 2), was created with seashells, buttons and fabric on canvas. What I love about Alcantara’s work is that she does not restrict herself. Her art is extremely expressive and the mixture of materials as well as the ability to create a three dimensional collage provides viewers with an experience that feels very human.
Carol Fields is an artist from Manhattan whose work depicts geometric patterns using bright colors. She mainly uses colored pencil and ink to achieve her precisely done artworks. Her work is meticulous and exhibits the virture of patience. It is uniform yet does not feel repetitive; rather, it keeps the viewer looking, inspecting the pattern and searching for more. That more is the artist. Field’s work, I feel, encompasses herself and you can truly see her hand in each of her pieces.
Wayne Anderson is Manhattan based artist who works with acrylic, watercolor, ink and colored pencils to create work that is intriguing to the viewer. In Composition with Black Ridges (image 1), he uses acrylic paint on paper to create textured swirls. The viewer finds themselves following this pattern across the paper, looking deeper to find the true depth of the piece. In Composition with Name in Many Colors (image 2), Anderson writes his name repetitively, allowing it to overlap in some places. This, again, keeps the viewer looking at this piece. Although down differently that the first, it is clear that Anderson aims to attract his viewers and get them to really see his work. Similar to Fields, Anderson’s work really showcases the artist himself.
When I saw the original instagram post from MoMA, I felt so excited. Historically, art exhibitions were so limited, with rules and regulations that kept pieces that didn’t fit the aesthetic out. This effectively prevented women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities from showcasing their work. I feel so fortunate to live in our world today, where not only are artists from all backgrounds allowed to show their art, but they are encouraged to. Museums across the country have exhibitions specific to people of color, women, LGBTQIA artists, activism movements, and artists with physical and intellectual disabilities. I am always astonished by the great strides made in art history, but I am so grateful to be able to live out those changes and have these specific exhibitions be normalized. I hope you all are, too.