April 9, 2021 - September 12, 2021
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. Eclipsing these individual worries are the actions of conservative governments attempting to assert control over marginalized communities and delicate ecosystems. Literally and figurately, 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 quality and find empowerment amid darkness. Highlighting deCordova’s holding 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
Shimon Attie (b. 1957, Los Angeles, CA), "Present Day Refugee With Dormitory Ship ('Flotel Europa')" from the project titled "Portraits Of Exile", 1995, color photograph, 23 1/4 × 18 7/8 inches (image). Gift of Cathy England.