Oct 07 2022 - Jan 08 2023
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Image Trafficking

Using the materials and methods of photographic reproduction, artist Stephanie Syjuco researches museum collections and archives to explore America’s colonial history and the construction of its national identity. At the Wadsworth—established in 1842 and among the first art museums in the country—Syjuco studied the extensive object files and photographic archives of its founding collection of Hudson River School paintings, as well as the bequest of Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, heir and widow of gun manufacturer and Hartford native Samuel Colt. These grand portraits, romanticized landscapes, and dramatic history paintings convey complex fables and shifting racial and patriarchal narratives. In the installation, the artist repositions these stories utilizing various photography-based modes of dissemination and reproduction—color transparencies, black-and-white photocopies, scholarly publications, photographic murals, and new digital photography—that focus, confuse, and conceal imagery to produce new readings. By investigating the art collection through the lens of museum departments tasked with its administration and care, Syjuco considers how museum stewardship stands as a metaphor for the United States itself, a country in a constant state of invention.


Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
600 Main Street Hartford, CT 06103


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