Wayfinding: Contemporary Artists, Critical Dialogues, and the Sidney R. Knafel Map Collection
October 17, 2020 - February 28, 2021
Wayfinding presents new work by six artists—Sonny Assu, Andrea Chung, Liz Collins, Spencer Finch, Josh T. Franco, and Heidi Whitman—made in response to a two-year engagement with Phillips Academy’s Sidney R. Knafel Map Collection. The collection, a unique holding of atlases and maps, documents European understanding of the world from 1434 through the 19th century. The objects in it are captivating for their aesthetic qualities, geographical speculations, and historical implications. Illuminating the history of scientific inquiry and the Age of Discovery, the Knafel maps are also revealing documents of the political and economic aspirations of their times.
Approaching the Knafel Collection from the vantage point of the 21st century and through a variety of cultural perspectives, intellectual interests, and aesthetic approaches, the six artists in this exhibition explore the ways in which American spaces have been imagined, claimed, measured, circumscribed, and contested, in works that initiate provocative dialogues between past and present.
This exhibition is generously supported by the Sidney R. Knafel Fund, the Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence Fund, and a grant from the Artists’ Resource Trust.