This exhibition explores the numerous ways in which contemporary artists around the world are radically reimagining what makes a work of art meaningful. The artworks on display here highlight many of the images, ideas, and pressing social concerns that are defining the twenty-first century. It takes its title from two featured works, both called We the People: Hank Willis Thomas’s quilt made from decommissioned prison uniforms cut up and pieced together to spell out these first words of the preamble to the United States Constitution, and Danh Võ’s full-size copper replica of the Statue of Liberty broken into several hundred pieces, one of which is included in the exhibition.
The Albright-Knox was founded by artists as a museum devoted to collecting and exhibiting the art of our time, and we continue to fulfill that mission. The works in We the People were selected from among the hundreds of contemporary artworks that the museum has acquired through purchase or gift over the past five years, in mediums ranging from painting to sculpture and photography to moving images.
The international artists represented in this exhibition, including Subodh Gupta, Park McArthur, Sopheap Pich, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, are among the key voices helping to define contemporary art today. Their works illustrate the ways art can transport us to other worlds, even as it draws us closer to the everyday shared experiences and challenges that make us human. The Albright-Knox is dedicated to creating opportunities for you, our visitors, to form your own responses to new ideas; it is our hope that this exhibition inspires an ongoing dialogue about art’s evolving relevance to our lives.
This exhibition is organized by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Janne Sirén and Assistant Curator Tina Rivers Ryan.