Sunday, October 16, 2005

a grey, windy day . . . good for a visit to a museum

I had planned to check out the new and interesting exhibition at The New York Historical Society yesterday, but I became so involved in my blog that I postponed my visit to today. I'm very new to "blogging" and although it takes me a while to compose my ideas, I find it quite enjoyable so far. The exhibition at The New York Historical Society is called, "Slavery in New York: A Landmark Exhibition" and it will be there until March 5, 2006.

http://www.slaveryinnewyork.org/

The exhibition examines a gambit of issues, which revolve around slavery in the Americas with New York City as its focus. Yes, New Yorkers pride themselves on their liberalism and progressive ways especially in order to distinguish themselves from other seemingly backward parts of the country. However, this exhibition shows that New York wasn't all that different in the end. The same evil that existed in the American South, for example, existed here.

It looks at the origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and how the bustling port of New York emerged as an important point in this system, which connected countries both near and far. I was interested particularly in the representations of Africans and African-Americans in New York art and the maps of the New York itself. Some of the images shown portrayed black people in the popular ministral fashion of the day, whereas others were much more respectful showing them working in the busy, bustling streets of lower Manhattan.






And then, of course, there were other images in which they were absent completely. The exhibits has a series of maps, which show the development and expansion of lower Manhattan from its days as a Dutch outpost to its coming of age as America's foremost commerical center.

All in all I found the exhibition at the museum very interesting. For those interested in our city's fascinating past, I recommend it. Telling from the seemingly endless and diverse crowd that walked into the museum this afternoon, it seems like the word is getting out.

The New York Historical Society has, by the way, a great collection of Hudson River School art.

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