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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 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.
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 |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.
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.
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.
“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: 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.