Conversations with the Collection: Belonging

August 16, 2016–July 9, 2017

Franz Anton Maulbertsch, The Sausage Woman (Die Wurstelbraterin), c. 1785-1790

Above: Franz Anton Maulbertsch, The Sausage Woman (Die Wurstelbraterin), c. 1785-1790, Oil on wood panel, 1978.184.

Top: Frank Lloyd Wright, Dining Table and Six Side Chairs, 1907–1910, Designed for the Frederick C. Robie Residence, 1967.73-79.

As part of our annual Conversations with the Collection series, the Smart presents an experimental installation on the theme of belonging.

The project mixes works from across cultures and eras, from Rococo painting and Japanese hanging scrolls to contemporary sculpture and the dining room furniture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his Robie House. 

These works raise complicated questions about what it means to belong—to a place, a culture, a family, or a group. They present rituals, spaces, and symbols that conjure shared experience and investigate the relationship between collective and individual identity. The artworks also call into question what happens when people, as well as objects, move across these spaces or are expelled from them. By juxtaposing these artworks from different cultures and eras we hope to explore the many ways we understand our place in the ever-shifting world around us, while also reflecting on the implications of “belonging” for museum display itself.

Additional works of art related to this core installation are placed throughout the Asian, Contemporary (until December 30, 2016), European, and Modern galleries. The labels for these objects feature the Conversations with the Collection logo. 

About Conversations with the Collection

The Smart Museum collects works of art—more than 15,000 and counting—to support academic and artistic study, inspire new ideas, and provide a setting for reflection and conversation by our diverse audiences.

Each year we put a different selection of works on display in the four galleries dedicated to our permanent collection. Through these annual reinstallations, we hope to share more treasures from the collection, while also investigating new narratives through rotating thematic installations of selected artwork under the banner Conversations with the Collection.