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April 9, 2021 - September 12, 2021

What We Do in the Shadows

artwork, a mans face in the water

Shadows lurk all around us, marking time and place. These fleeting, immaterial projections speckle the surface of the Earth as objects block light from passing through. Although shadows can be highly aesthetic, they can also be invisible, manifesting as secrets and fears in the back of our minds. Moving from these individual concerns to collective ones, the actions of authoritarian governments often attempt to assert control over marginalized communities and delicate ecosystems. Literally and figuratively, shade provides space for people to flourish in secret as well as cover for malicious activities to occur. 

The artworks in What We Do in the Shadows expose injustices against people and the environment, centering advocates and activists who fight for equality and find empowerment amid darkness. Highlighting deCordova’s holdings of art associated with postwar countercultures in the United States, this exhibition looks across the Museum’s legacy of collecting works that push against the status quo, uplift disempowered people, and disseminate messages of peace and equality. 

Organized by Elizabeth Upenieks, Curatorial Assistant.

Art On View