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Pratt Museum Exhibit

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 6/7/24 | 6/7/24

By Michael Ryan

PRATTSVILLE - The first exhibition of the 2024 season for the Zadock Pratt Museum, titled “Whose Folk,” features “an exciting blend of art and history,” says Museum board of directors president Carolyn Bennett.

Works by contemporary artist Cal Siegel are intertwined with pieces from the Museum’s collection, representing disparately connected centuries.

“Siegel's sculptures and photographs - various ceramic and wooden forms, vessels, and wall hangings - all refer back to historical architecture and objects with equal parts reverence, humor and criticality,” Bennett says.

“When displayed alongside historic artifacts from the Pratt homestead, visitors are asked to consider how the past informs the present.

“This exhibition is the first curatorial project by Tony Bluestone, a newly appointed member of the Museum board,” Bennett says.

“He is interested in how civic life is shaped by history and how cultural institutions deepen community engagement.”

In a review of the show, which runs through July 31, Victoria Horrocks writes, “with every object displayed within the Zadock Pratt House, I experience a charged encounter with the past.

“The exterior walls of Pratt’s home may be covered in white shiplap, but the inside is rife with the traces of a historic world preserved for all to experience.

“Standing in Pratt’s living room, meeting the gaze of [Pratt] family members’ portraits, I am transported to the time in which he lived, and simultaneously brought forth into the present through Siegel’s work.

“Collapsing time and creating a world unto itself, “Whose Folk” negotiates the house’s historic and contemporary presences,” Horrock writes.

Providing context on the various pieces, Horrock writes, “the assortment of seemingly banal objects Siegel has selected feel endowed with the profound presence of their collector and those who used them across time.

“When I encounter the objects in the Museum’s collection, I detect centuries of use both past and present.

“I sense lives the objects have touched and endured. Although the house may have belonged Pratt, through it I connect to larger narratives of local and national histories.

“Siegel’s work seems to coax these narratives out - and acknowledge a lineage of collective use that continues into the present,” Horrock writes.

Regular museum hours are noon to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, with a panel discussion scheduled for Saturday, July 20, at 4 p.m., between Siegel, Bennett, Bluestone and arts educator Sarah Workneh.

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