In May 2019, Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum began an ambitious two-year project designed to engage artists and the public with Rokeby Museum’s archives, objects, buildings, and land. Working in collaboration with Kasini House, the goal was to demonstrate how contemporary art can pick up the unfinished work of history and foster civic engagement in social, economic, and environmental justice issues.
In 2020, Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum will present “Mending Fences: New Work by Carol MacDonald”. This multifaceted exhibition of objects, monotype prints, and site-specific installations will–in the face of complex cultural challenges–promote both simple and profound acts of repair. The exhibition will open when Rokeby Museum opens for the season and run through October 25th, 2020 with a public reception and book release on opening day.
Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum is a collaboration with Kasini House, whose Art Meets History initiative works to build connections between contemporary art and history-focused organizations. “Our vision is that artists investigate a sense of place and pick up the unfinished work of history and speak to contemporary civic discourse around social, economic, and environmental issues.” visit website
In its first year, Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum presented two exhibitions, introduced an artist membership program, conducted a symposium about the relationship between art and history, and hosted an artist lab designed to support the development of an artist’s practice.
Here is an archive of activities:
Rokeby Through the Lens — May 19–June, 2019
The writers and artists among the Robinson family were keen observers of the land. This attention to detail comes through in Rachael Robinson’s artwork and Rowland Evans Robinson’s drawings and published writings. More than any time in history, photography shapes how we see the world. We are bombarded with imagery, filtered through the camera, shared on social media. It comes fast and it comes at us in a volume that can be difficult to process. But in the hands of contemporary photographers, the camera is being used as a tool to slow down the flow of information. By creating complex photographs, they afford the viewer an opportunity to reflect and consider how to see the world. Among the work on view was a thirty-foot photograph of Rokeby by Stephen Schaub that exemplifies how contemporary artists can draw out new views and perspectives.
Structures — May 19–June 16, 2019
Structures define our world. Some of us live among skyscrapers, row houses, condominiums. In Vermont, many of us live among houses and barns. Rokeby Museum, a National Historic Landmark, is a collection of houses, barns, and outbuildings that served a variety of ends. The exhibition repurposed these historic spaces as platforms for contemporary art and asked the viewer to contemplate the role that structures play in shaping our experience of the world and how structures can inform and shape the experience of others. Learn more about the exhibition.
Art Rokeby Festival — August 24, 2019
Art Rokeby Festival was a day-long festival where Artist Members shared their work in exhibition. The day included an artist market, presentations, kids’ art making, and live demonstrations.
Art Meets History Symposium — Saturday, June 8, 2019
What happens when artists mingle with history? What roles can museums play in an artist’s practice? How can engagement with history help an artist speak to the present? How can an artist’s practice be developed by engaging place with research and exploration? These are the questions we explored at the Art Meets History Symposium, a day long meeting of artists and art professionals at Rokeby Museum. The symposium was open to all artists regardless of levels and styles, from en plein air painters and photographers to those engaged in a social or conceptual practice. We also welcomed art professionals and members of the public to join the discussion. The Symposium introduced the Rokeby Artist Lab and other programs taking place in 2019. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM
Rokeby Artist Lab — September 26–29, 2019
On Thursday, September 26, 2019, ten artists from across the U.S. and Canada met for a four-day intensive of workshops and discussions designed to foster the integration of history and civic discourse into an artist’s practice. Participants learned how to use Rokeby Museum’s historic site and extensive archives to make artwork that picks up the unfinished work of history and fosters civic engagement in social, economic, and environmental issues. Rokeby Artist Lab was produced by Kasini House as part of Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum. LEARN MORE