The Queens Museum is at the forefront of political and societal issues in several of its exhibits, and two that are on display now reflect this paradigm. Below are their descriptions according to the museum, which was slated to reopen on January 5 after being closed for the holidays.

One exhibit is “Proposal for a 28th Amendment?” Is it possible to modify an uneven system?

With this incomplete participatory installation, Year of Uncertainty Artist-in-Residence Alex Strada and Tali Keren ask visitors to critically engage with the U.S. Constitution and ask two questions: “What 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would propose?” you ? “And” Do you think it is possible to modify an unequal system? Opening with the phrase “We the People,” the Constitution was written in 1787 by and for wealthy white male landowners, and to date only 27 amendments have been ratified to change the document. This legacy and the ingrained issues of structural racism, colonial violence by settlers, heteropatriarchy and work inequalities are highlighted here in videos featuring jurists.

At the heart of the installation are sound sculptures of soapboxes that draw on the history of the soapbox as a site of collective struggle, while emphasizing listening, reciprocity and access. These objects emit an ongoing oral archive of responses to project questions that have been recorded by visitors and will accumulate over the course of the exhibition. Visitors are encouraged to engage by listening and using the recording booth to complete this work.

The facility is activated through a series of public Strada and Keren workshops planned with community partners and ‘Year of Uncertainty’ lawyers. These gatherings bring people together to reflect, question and debate collectively on systemic redress, radical change and abolition in order to imagine more equitable futures.

Another exhibit is “Kingdom Peace”, presented by Life Camp, community partner of “Year of Uncertainty”. The exhibit stems from the frontline violence prevention and response organization’s motto, “Peace is a way of life”. It features handmade artwork, a mural and a video that reflects the daily work and vision of the peacemakers and young leaders at Life Camp in southern Jamaica.

The installation includes a collaboratively produced peace sign assembled from recycled water bottles to highlight the importance of caring for one’s neighborhood and a painted bicycle that celebrates play and joy as a form of healing and connection. The mural painted by Miyoshi Plaines (MO $ H) of Black Village Arts focuses on healing and transformation in those affected by an act of violence. This article’s message asserts that resolution, safety, public health, and real justice can only happen by recognizing that individuals on both sides of a gun need support and help. The SLUSA Productions video showcases the complex relationships between gun violence and individual and community well-being and highlights Life Camp’s approach to changing the way violence is experienced, perceived and managed at all levels, in particular by providing community actors with the skills and resources necessary to fight against mental disorders, emotional and physical well-being needs in their own neighborhood. The elements of the exhibition respond to each of the five themes of the “Year of Uncertainty”: care, reparation, justice, play and the future to create a space that centers love and healing.

Both exhibitions will be on view until February 13. For more information on one or the many other exhibits in the museum, visit queensmuseum.org.

– Peter C. Mastrosimone


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