Over our April school vacation week, my daughters and I took a day trip to Salem, MA. The girls were both born and lived their earlier years in Salem, and we always enjoy visiting when we have a chance. We love to check out our favorite places and find new spots-Salem is really a fun city-and The Peabody Essex Museum is usually at the top of the list. This visit, we each picked a special exhibit we wanted to see; two were temporary, and one was a permanent exhibit.
First, we stopped in to see the T.C. Cannon exhibit, On the Edge of America. T.C. Cannon was a Native American artist from the 1960s and 70s whose work balanced issues of the Vietnam War as well as historical implications of the treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government. I was stunned at how contemporary the work felt, and how well the curator linked current racial tensions with the issues the artist was raising. One highlight was a wall-sized mural. The curator commissioned a Native American musician alive today to write and sing a piece of music that played in the gallery. This was so wonderful and moving. This exhibit is up through June 20, 2018 - I highly recommend a visit before it closes.
Our second stop was the Yin Yu Tang House - "a 200-year-old Chinese house that was brought to America and re-erected at the Peabody Essex Museum". This is a permanent exhibit at PEM, but we haven't been inside in a while. My daughters were keen to visit this time, so we picked up the self-guided audio handsets and went in for our scheduled tour. This house was lived in until 1982 when the final residents moved out. It is really worth a visit - the audio tour guides are super helpful.
The final exhibit for us was PlayTime, which is up through May 6, 2018. Hurry to check it out! "PlayTime is the first major thematic exhibition to survey the rapidly evolving role of play in contemporary art and culture. Nearly forty works by seventeen leading contemporary artists—including large-scale installations, sculpture, photographs, video and tactile interactives—examine how play catalyzes creative expression, enchants the ordinary, and helps us understand ourselves in new ways." This exhibit was very interactive and a lot of fun for all of us. PEM has also set up a website with more art, writing, and other ways to explore how play is changing. Perfect way to wrap up the visit.