A Family Affair

Curated around the shifting definitions of “family,” this exhibition draws our attention to the critical moments, decisions, and people—the affairs—that mark and define our family lives.

Exhibitions a family affair banner

These affairs are the potent narratives through which we develop our values and against which we sharpen our identities. We hope you find that the diversity of objects and range of content in this show eloquently reflect the numerous associations we collectively have about family. Some works allude to childhood memories, the nostalgic snapshots that chronicle our past. Others address the trauma of dysfunctional relationships, illness, or regret. You’ll find family contextualized as a place for both mental and emotional metamorphosis, where we all at a young age learn to survive through adaptation. Many artworks provide a glimpse into the windows of both the earnest and the sardonic versions of romance or, later, that thing we call “domestic bliss.” Finally, some artworks reference the politics of family—the nuanced arena where we inherit so many of our values, both good and bad, that we enact and sometimes cast off throughout our lives. In looking carefully and thinking through these artworks, we’re reminded that family affairs are the most intimate social exchanges any of us will ever know. They surprise in their unmatched power to uplift, clarify, nourish, and even damage. We believe these daring and insightful artists can inspire us to draw nearer to the various and dynamic family groups we inhabit, to hold them accountable with critical honesty, and to attend them with greater care and invested participation.

Selections from “A Family Affair”