The Metropol Drama

February 23–July 9, 2023

The things we call art can, at their best, provide a way to peek a sideways glance at the emotions behind someone else’s human experience. In this relating to others—be they friends, family, strangers, or the citizens of a different time and place—facts and truth go only so far.

The Metropol Drama proposes another way of looking at our aesthetic, economic, and emotional history—one that it rooted in the contradictions of interaction that produce peoples and states that are smudged and complex, hybrid and tragic. Having gone by many names, today we call this social and economic amalgam “cosmopolitanism.” The term can best be thought of as a kind of shorthand for a sensibility where the exchange of capital, ideas, and people have provided fertile ground and vulnerabilities for ways of feeling and living.

This exhibition is a case study in how the things we call art speak to and embody values. It presents a terrain comprised of traditionally-defined works of art and artifacts, as well as objects such as legal documents and currencies—forms of negotiation between peoples. The diversity of objects within the exhibition space reflects the ways in which we form the complex subjectivities of selfhood across cultures since the time of the ancients up until the present moment within ourselves.