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Crossing Lines, Constructing Home on View at the Harvard Art Museums

Featuring more than 40 contemporary works created by international artists, the exhibition challenges accepted notions about migration. On view through January 5, 2020.

Lili Almog, Muslim Girl #14, 2009. From the series The Other Half of the Sky. Archival pigment print. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Fund for the Acquisition of Photographs, 2019.80. © Lili Almog; courtesy of the artist.

What does it mean to be displaced from culture and home? What are the historical contexts for understanding our contemporary moment? How does an artist’s work and process embody and engage the narratives of displacement and belonging?

Crossing Lines, Constructing Home investigates two parallel ideas: national, political, and cultural conceptions of boundaries and borders; and the evolving hybrid spaces, identities, languages, and beliefs created by the movement of peoples.

While offering historical context and a consideration of the forces that commonly drive migration, such as political instability, natural disasters, and oppression linked to race, religion, culture, and class, the exhibition presents a more complicated narrative about immigration and displacement than the usual rhetoric that dominates the public sphere and polarizes debate. Crossing Lines unsettles accepted notions of what constitutes a boundary and of what characterizes the migrant or refugee experience—in part by exploring how culture can persist and be embraced despite displacement.

The more than 40 works in the exhibition, all but one drawn from the museums’ permanent collections, reflect a global community of contemporary artists, including sculpture by Do Ho Suh, Bosco Sodi, and Emily Jacir; photographs by Richard Misrach, Jim Goldberg, Graciela Iturbide, and Serena Chopra; prints by Zarina Hashmi; a large work mixing photosilkscreen and drawing by Eugenio Dittborn; a slide projection by Candida Höfer; and a video installation by Willie Doherty.

Crossing Lines is on view at the Harvard Art Museums through January 5, 2020. For more information, visit www.harvardartmuseums.org/crossing-lines.