This is America*

UK Art Museum

Friday, October 23rd
2:00pm - 9:00pm
Saturday, February 13th
5:00pm - 10:00pm
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This is America* is an exhibition originally planned to coincide with the 2020 presidential election, looking at aspects of history, citizenry, race, dignity, power, and struggle. In recent months, our country has been shaken by a global pandemic and waves of social unrest centered around issues of social justice and policing practices.


America is a concept as much as a place. It is a promise written by founding fathers who were slave owners. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We hold these truths to be self-evident, but we've got some explaining to do. We have white picket fences and internment camps. America is exceptional, except when it isn't. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, baseball, and apple pie. No justice, no peace. America is ritual and risk, haves and have nots, wide open spaces and too big to fail. From George Washington to George Floyd. Another day, another dollar. E pluribus unum and Don't tread on me. Leave the gun, take the cannoli. Why can't we all just get along?


In "Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation", an op-ed published in The New York Times on the day of his funeral, Lewis wrote, "Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself." Putting oneself on the line by marching, speaking out, and educating others are ways that democracy is realized. Lewis continues, "Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key."


Art is another form of good trouble. This exhibition has been organized in that spirit, with the hope that the Museum can play a role as a safe space for the discussion of difficult topics and uncertain outcomes. Selections from our permanent collection, as well as art gathered from various studios, galleries, and private collections come together to create a dense environment that challenges the viewer to sort out their knowledge of, and feelings about, living in America at this volatile time.


This is America* is on view at the UK Art Museum until February 13, 2021. Reservations are suggested, but admission is free. Visitors are required to wear masks in the Museum and have temperatures taken on arrival. No more than 20 visitors are allowed into the Museum each hour, to allow for social distancing.


To make your reservation, click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uk-art-museum-admission-tickets-121264588649


New Museum hours are:

Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 5 pm

Saturday: 12 – 5 pm

Closed: Sundays, Monday, and University Holidays


The Art Museum will be closed the following:

Nov. 3 / Election Day

Nov. 26 & Nov. 27 / Thanksgiving

Dec. 13 – Jan. 4 / Winter Holidays


For more information on visiting the Art Museum, see our website: https://finearts.uky.edu/art-museum/visit


Attached Image: Wendy Ewald, Talk, from the series African American Alphabet, 2000, gelatin silver print. Collection of the UK Art Museum, purchase: The Robert C. May Photography Fund.