Let It All Hang! A Year of Collecting at deCordova

Installation Photograph: Introduction

This exhibition presented one year of collecting—1982—at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Drawn entirely from the permanent collection, it focused on the collecting practices of the museum as a way of reflecting upon how art museums form their collection and the justifications for accessioning art.

Highlighting the strength of deCordova’s permanent collection, the year 1982 revealed that deCordova was, in many ways, at the forefront of institutional collecting. Photography was a dominant acquisition medium in 1982, at a time when many museums were only just starting to consider photography a fine art worthy of being acquired. Additionally, many prints entered the collection, which underscored one of the ways the museum has demonstrated its longstanding support of New England artists. Five female artists—Mags Harries, Olivia Parker, Jane Tuckerman, Sage Sohier, Felice Regan—were represented in these acquisitions, which spoke to deCordova’s commitment to New England-based women in the arts. Lastly, the Museum acquired socially engaged art that addressed questions of ecology, environment, and politics, showing that deCordova was an active participant in socio-political discussions. Pulling back the curtain on an essential aspect of the art museum’s cultural role, this exhibition allows visitors a unique look into the mechanics of forming and maintaining an art collection.