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RL Watson's exhibit recognized by The New York Times

rl watson photo
January 04, 2024
Meghan O'Toole

The New York Times recently shared a review praising Unnamed Figures: Black Presence and Absence in the Early American North, an exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

Unnamed Figures was curated by Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies RL Watson alongside Emelie Gevalt and Sadé Ayorinde.

The exhibition, which opened November and runs until March 24, 2024, offers a look into works of folk art of the early American North, a region that is often overlooked in favor of narratives of slavery and anti-Black racism of the South. The art on display, a collection of 125 works that includes paintings, needlework, works on paper, and other artifacts explores Black life, representation and the absence of representation in early New England and mid-Atlantic states. 

The review was written by Karen Rosenberg, who calls the show "vitally important" and "deeply moving." Rosenberg notes that "the exhibition surrounds representations of Black individuals with essential, eye-opening context." Read the full review here.

In addition to the exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum, Watson also collaborated on editing a book by the same title with Gevalt and Ayorinde.

After the exhibition concludes at the American Folk Art Museum in March, it will reopen in Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts in May. 

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