It isn't often that an exhibit at an art museum focuses on the absence of art. But that's exactly the point of a new exhibit at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, where art — specifically art that was created or donated by immigrants — has been removed from view to allow visitors to focus on what we lose when we lose immigrants.
The exhibit, which will run through the long President's Day weekend, is called "Art-Less." According to the museum, the intent is to "demonstrate the critical role that immigrants to the United States have played in the arts, both in their creative contributions as well as their stewardship of the visual arts."
For the exhibit, museum curators have removed 120 pieces of art — roughly 20 percent of the displayed collection — from view. For the next week, the art pieces will be removed from the walls or covered with shrouds, and replaced with placards indicating that they were made or donated by immigrants.
"Art-Less demonstrates in stark and indisputable terms the impact of immigration on our collections,” said Lisa Fischman, the museum director.
The art pieces that have been removed from the exhibit include paintings by Willem de Kooning and Hans Hoffman, as well as a portrait of President George Washington by the Swedish artist Adolf Ulricertmüller (above right).
The Art-Less exhibit will be on display — or rather not on display — through Feb. 21.
Inserted photo: "Portrait of George Washington" by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)