Picket Fence to Picket Line: Visions of American Citizenship

 Ron Haviv

October 15, 2016 - February 5, 2017

Above: Jacob August Riis, American, 1849-1914, printed by Alexander Alland, Ukrainian, active in Turkey and the United States, 1902-1989, First Patriotic Election in the Beach Street Industrial School, about 1888, gelatin silver print, Stoddard Acquisition Fund, 2003.46

Since 2014 the Worcester Art Museum has served as an official polling station for the local community. Now, in 2016, the Museum will participate in one of the most electrifying political years in recent memory. Picket Fence to Picket Line will foster meaningful dialogue surrounding this year's presidential election and connect to our active population of voters. It will inspire visitors to confront one of the most highly charged questions in contemporary political discourse: What is citizenship?

This exhibition explores citizenship in relation to the spaces and places that American citizens have historically held the right to occupy and possess, beginning with the establishment of domestic property. This topic will be investigated through such themes as early American landownership and phenomena such as sharecropping and crowded tenements. In addition, the exhibition examines acts of engagement, celebration, and protest which become politically charged as they play out in civic spaces. The exhibition will give each visitor a unique opportunity to consider how our identities as citizens develop within and in response to different spaces. The themes will be presented through a range of objects pulled from the Museum's permanent collection, including major works from Walker Evans, Currier and Ives printmakers, Jacob Lawrence, and Andy Warhol.

Video: Visions Of American Citizenship

Video from Master Series Third Thursday
October 20, 2016

Speaker: Valerie J. Mercer, Curator of the General Motors Center for African American Art, Detroit Institute of Arts

Filmed by WGBH Forum Network.


The exhibition includes the multimedia installation of a new commissioned piece, THE BEAUTY OF TYRANNY by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.


Worcester Art Museum show examines immigration, citizenship - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
The art of citizenship - The Boston Globe