What is history? What are historical facts? How do we experience our own past and the history of the world? In times of culture wars about monuments and history education, this exhibition asks questions about the character of historical knowledge and the stories we tell about the past. Facts do matter, while the ways we interpret them are often subjective and open to debate or the cause of social discord.
Museums are educational institutions that have pertinent stories to share, yet most visitors are not aware of the complex discussions behind an exhibition concept, or even a single object label. Questionable History focuses on illuminating these often invisible question marks. Instead of imposing a specific point of view, it offers a playful presentation of artworks and artifacts that invite the visitor to ask critical questions about curatorial decisions. Discover paintings with two labels that present different interpretations or emphasize what we do not know about the works on display. Engage with art through the lens of famous thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu, who have been instrumental in shaping the historical debate. Explore how Vladimir Lenin’s reputation and subsequent representation has evolved over time, and how our contemporary moment informs the way we look at the past.
Alongside art and artifacts from the Wende collection, this exhibition presents contemporary work that reexamines the legacy of Lenin’s image: a video from Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevičius reverses footage of the removal of a Lenin monument; Cherokee/Seneca-Cayuga artist Jamison Chās Banks superimposes the face of Lenin on a denim pennant, drawing from his family history; Belgian artist Raymond Minnen and Belarusian artist Natalia Drobot humorously refashion Lenin figurines, appropriating official iconography and turning it upside down to create new meaning.
Questionable History is generously supported by Janet Dreisen Rappaport, member of the Wende Museum Board of Directors.
Exhibited Contemporary Artists
Jamison Chās Banks, Natalia Drobot, Raymond Minnen, and Deimantas Narkevičius.