Press \\ Press Releases

PEM announces fall exhibition schedule

Released September 21, 2020

SALEM, MA This fall, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) will open several provocative exhibitions that examine the local and global, from the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 to women's often-overlooked contributions to the fashion and design industry, as well as museum's extensive collection of Indian art made before and after British occupation. In total, seven new exhibitions will inspire conversation about creativity and culture.

The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials 1692 | September 26, 2020 - April 4, 2021

Starting September 26, Salem Witch Trials 1692 includes rarely-exhibited original witch trial documents from PEM's Phillips Library collection, telling the true story of the tragic events that involved more than 400 people and led to the deaths of 25 innocents, as told through the voices and with the possessions of those directly involved.

Monopoly, about 1940. Paper, paperboard, woodBox, closed. Gift of the North Shore Children’s Hospital Thrift Shop. ©2020 Peabody Essex Museum, Photograph by Kathy Tarantola


Salem Stories | September 26, 2020 - October 3, 2021

Organized by the architecture of the alphabet, Salem Stories also opens September 26 and presents 26 vignettes about the people, places and events that made Salem, Massachusetts, the city it is today. The exhibition starts at “A is for Always Indigenous” to acknowledge the Native communities who have lived for millennia on the land where the museum now sits. It ends with Z is for Zoology and coincides with the return to the galleries of a leatherback turtle specimen captured in 1885, a favorite of longtime visitors. A microcosm of the entire country, the history of this unique city is of national and international significance.

Michael C. McMillen. The Pequod II, 1987. Wood and metal kinetic assemblage. Peabody Essex Museum, Gift of Michael and Lauren McMillen, in memory of James Doolin. © Michael C. McMillen. Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA.


Michael C. McMillen: The Pequod II |October 10, 2020 - March 28, 2021

For visual artist Michael C. McMillen, The Pequod II derives its name from the whaling vessel in Herman Melville’s literary classic Moby Dick. On view October 10, the 17-foot fantasy ship is made of wood, motorcycle carburetors and Electrolux vacuum cleaner parts to name a few. The artist also spent more than a decade in the movie industry, creating props for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the original Blade Runner.

Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock), For J. Okuma, Dress, 2018. Museum purchase, made possible by the Anna Pingree Phillips Acquisition Fund. 2020.4.1. Courtesy of Jamie Okuma. Photo by Cameron Linton. Model: Corel Taylor.

Made It: The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion | November 21, 2020 - March 14, 2021

More than 100 works, spanning 250 years, recognize women's often-overlooked contributions to the fashion and design industry. From Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress to Elsa Schiaparelli and Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, to experimental labels like Chromat, women designers have transcended genres and revolutionized ideas of identity. Show-stopping ensembles, street fashion, ready-to-wear and haute couture illuminate issues of representation, creativity, consumption, transculturation and distinctiveness which have and continue to impact the fashion industry.

Tyeb Mehta, Untitled (from Diagonal Lines Series), 1973. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of the Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, 2001. © Estate of Tyeb Mehta. Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Walter Silver.


South Asian Art Gallery | November 27, 2020 - October 1, 2022

Starting November 27, new gallery experiences explore historic and modern Indian art, drawing from PEM’s vast collection. Bridging myth with social and political history, the new Chester and Davida Herwitz Gallery tells the story of nation-building and self-discovery through works by India's most celebrated artistic geniuses of the 20th century, while the new Fadia-Deshpande Gallery features a selection of historical objects from India. Focused primarily on the 19th century, the gallery considers India's long and complex history of foreign occupation, and its troubling impact on the representation of Indian people in art. Featuring some of the earliest objects to come to PEM, including unfired clay sculpture, mica paintings and kalighat paintings, the gallery considers and questions the timeless tropes of India that persist even today.

Maqbool Fida (M.F.) Husain, Wedding invitation (detail), 1983. Ink, paint, rice and string on paper. Phillips Library. Gift of Chester and Davida Herwitz, 2002. Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, MSS 871, box 2, folder 2. © The Estate of M.F. Husain.


“My Dear Davey and Chester” | November 27, 2020 - October 3, 2021

From PEM’s Phillips Library collection, visitors may explore a jewel box exhibition. “My Dear Davey and Chester…” features Chester and Davida’s Herwitz’s personal archive of letters and photographs. These were donated to PEM along with 1,275 works of modern Indian art and their library of more than 6,000 books. With words of affection from the artists themselve, this archive demonstrates the Herwitzes’ appreciation for Indian art and how they developed a network of friendships as they built their exquisite collection.

Zarah Hussain, Air I, 2020. Acrylic on cotton paper. Photo by Zarah Hussain.

Zarah Hussain: Breath | December 19, 2020 - June 20, 2021

Spiritual traditions around the world have long used the breath as a tool for transformation and awakening. In a series of paintings commissioned by PEM, British artist Zarah Hussain explores the universal sanctity and necessity of breathing. Mining her own reflections and experiences, she integrates the personal stories of members from our community who have, in some way, experienced the physical trauma of losing their breath or its transformative healing power.

Moving through inhalations and exhalations, as well as the silent spaces in between, Hussain’s work — produced in London while the artist was under lockdown due to COVID-19 — utilizes the universal principles of mathematics and geometry to guide us into moments of deep contemplation and stillness. The exhibition also features an animation and soundscape that slows visitors down to activate an awareness of and deeper connection to the breath.


PROTECTING HEALTH AND SAFETY

The health and safety of PEM’s staff and visitors is our highest priority. PEM has increased its safety protocols, including the frequency and intensity of its sanitation and disinfection efforts across the museum. Face coverings are to be worn at all times.

To learn more, go to pem.org/open/your-health-safety.


PUBLICITY IMAGES
Available upon request.


IMAGE CREDITS

  1. Thompkins Harrison Matteson. Trial of George Jacobs, August 5, 1692, 1855. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum, Gift of R. W. Ropes, 1859. 1246. Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Mark Sexton and Jeffrey R. Dykes
  2. Monopoly, about 1940. Paper, paperboard, woodBox, closed. Gift of the North Shore Children’s Hospital Thrift Shop. ©2020 Peabody Essex Museum, Photograph by Kathy Tarantola
  3. Michael C. McMillen. The Pequod II, 1987. Wood and metal kinetic assemblage. Peabody Essex Museum, Gift of Michael and Lauren McMillen, in memory of James Doolin. © Michael C. McMillen. Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA.
  4. Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock), For J. Okuma, Dress, 2018. Museum purchase, made possible by the Anna Pingree Phillips Acquisition Fund. 2020.4.1. Courtesy of Jamie Okuma. Photo by Cameron Linton. Model: Corel Taylor.
  5. Tyeb Mehta, Untitled (from Diagonal Lines Series), 1973. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of the Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, 2001. © Estate of Tyeb Mehta. Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Walter Silver.
  6. Maqbool Fida (M.F.) Husain, Wedding invitation (detail), 1983. Ink, paint, rice and string on paper. Phillips Library. Gift of Chester and Davida Herwitz, 2002. Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, MSS 871, box 2, folder 2. © The Estate of M.F. Husain.
  7. Zarah Hussain, Air I, 2020. Acrylic on cotton paper. Photo by Zarah Hussain.


ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM
Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time -- including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic, and African art, as well as one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. PEM's campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-two noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Thursday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $18; students $12. Go to pem.org/tickets for timed tickets. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $6 (plus museum admission). Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit pem.org

MEDIA CONTACTS
Whitney Van Dyke | Director of Communications | whitney_vandyke@pem.org | 617-259-6722