The notion of an heirloom often describes objects “passed down” to family and friends. It suggests an intimate connection or—at a minimum—a relationship between something past and something present (and, hopefully, something future). This exhibition will use the work of contemporary artists to investigate heirlooms as ideas—as links between generations and communities, as concepts to modify or embellish, as techniques to master or modify, and as objects to treasure or refuse.
Featuring artists at various phases in their careers and objects crafted from a variety of different media, Twenty-First Century Heirlooms is a large-scale exhibition that offers a context for exploring what we value today and why. From brooches that use famous Western paintings as reference points to sculptures made of accumulations of recycled twentieth-century pressed glass, as well as fast food containers made of silver, the work included in this show expands and challenges how we define heirlooms in the twenty-first century.