In this intimate one-room exhibition and shared space, New York–based artist and educator Pablo Helguera (born 1971, Mexico City) explores the historic formation and contemporary definitions of American identity. Here, the term “American” is understood in the Pan-American sense: its Spanish translation, americano, can refer to anyone or anything from North or South America.
Helguera takes aesthetic inspiration from 19th-century university clubs and gentlemen’s lounges—exclusive gathering spaces for elite groups of one gender and race—but breaks with tradition by welcoming people of all backgrounds.
At the center of the gallery is a 19th-century dining table, surrounded by paintings, photographs, prints, textiles, and decorative arts from the Museum’s world-renowned collection of art from the Americas. Selected by Helguera in collaboration with MFA curators, these artworks serve as the subject of three performances that examine their histories through a present-day lens. We welcome you to gather, lounge, read, experience the performances and participate in additional community-organized events held over the course of this exhibition.