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Fresh sights & new ideas | PEM announces 2018 exhibition schedule

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February 10 – May 6, 2018

PLAY spurs productivity. PLAY is a catalyst for creativity. PLAY is an escape from conformity. PLAY reinvents the rules. PLAY empowers the players. PLAY stimulates innovation. PLAY enables exploration. PLAY is a response to uncertainty. PLAY rewards misbehavior. PLAY negotiates conflict. PLAY resists productivity. PLAY is…

PlayTime is the first major thematic exhibition celebrating the role of play in contemporary art and culture. Forty works by twenty leading contemporary artists — including large-scale installations, sculpture, photographs, video and tactile interactives — examine how play catalyzes creative expression, enchants the ordinary, and helps us understand ourselves in new ways.

PlayTime is made possible in part by supporters of PEM’s Present Tense Initiative: Terry and Dick Albright, Dick and Deborah Carlson, Susan and Appy Chandler and Fay Chandler. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation provided generous support. The East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum provided additional support. PlayPower, Inc. is the lead sponsor of this exhibition.

Share your impressions with us on social media using #PEMplaytime

T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America

March 3 – June 10, 2018

One of the most influential, innovative, and talented Native American artists of the 20th-century, T.C. Cannon embodied the activism, cultural transition and creative expression that defined America in the 1960’s and ‘70s. Cannon’s work — as an artist, poet, and aspiring musician — is deeply personal yet undeniably political, reflecting his cultural heritage, experience as a Vietnam War veteran, and the turbulent social and political period during which he worked. Cannon preferred bold color combinations, mash-ups between Native and non-Native elements and never shied away from the complexity and nuance of identity politics. Cannon interrogated American history and popular culture through his Native lens, and exercised a rigorous mastery of Western art historical tropes while creating an entirely fresh visual vocabulary. T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America celebrates Cannon’s creative range and artistic legacy through 70 paintings and works on paper, as well as poetry and music.

T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum. The exhibition was made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation and Ellen and Steve Hoffman provided generous support. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Share your impressions with us on social media using #TCcannon

Wild Designs

May 26, 2018 – August 4, 2019

Wild Designs features works by artists and other creatives who are looking to nature and living systems for new ideas and creative solutions to human problems. Explore bioinspired innovations in design, technology, and art that either model or engage nature to generate more sustainable solutions. The exhibition includes mixed media sculptures, artist installations and drawings, as well as design projects ranging from preliminary concepts to realized products and buildings.   

Wild Designs is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum. The East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum and members of the Art & Nature Committee provided generous support. 

Share your impressions with us on social media using #PEMwild

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings

June 30 – September 23, 2018

For more than forty years, Sally Mann has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful images that have made her one of the country’s most influential and distinguished photographers. The artist’s first major traveling exhibition, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings, explores themes of family, memory, mortality, and home as well as the Southern landscape as repository of personal and collective memory. Some 125 photographs — many of which have not been exhibited or published previously — offer a sweeping overview of Mann’s artistic achievement, vision, and drive.

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings is co-organized by the Peabody Essex Museum and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The exhibition is made possible through a grant from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation provided generous support. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Share your impressions with us on social media using #PEMsallymann

The Last Empresses of China is the first to explore the role of empresses in shaping China’s last dynasty- the Qing dynasty – from 1644 to 1912. Nearly 150 spectacular objects from the Forbidden City tell the little-known story of how imperial women influenced court politics, art, and religion. Timed to mark the fortieth anniversary of the normalization of U.S.-China diplomatic relations, The Last Empresses of China is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Freer|Sackler), and the Palace Museum, Beijing.

Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation provided generous support for this exhibition. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Share your impressions with us on social media using #LastEmpresses

 Image Credits

(Detail) Martin Creed, Work No. 329 (detail), 2004, on loan from the Rennie Collection at Wing Sang, Vancouver. Photo by SITE Photography. © Martin Creed

T. C. Cannon (1946–1978, Caddo/Kiowa), Two Guns Arikara, 1974–77. Acrylic and oil on canvas. Anne Aberbach + Family, Paradise Valley, Arizona. © 2017 Estate of T. C. Cannon. Photo by Thosh Collins.

, 2015, a bioinspired live edible insect trap. Biomimicry Global Design Challenge entry by Pat Pataranutaporn with Ratchaphak Tantisanghirun, Purichaya Kuptajit, Tavita Kulsupakarn, Alfredo Raphael. Image courtesy of BioX team.

Sally Mann, Deep South, Untitled (Scarred Tree), 1998. Gelatin silver print. National Gallery of Art, Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund.

Court painters in Beijing, Empress Xiaomu ChengQing dynasty, Xianfeng period (1850-1861). Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Peabody Essex Museum, gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Sturgis Hinds, 1956, E33618

About the Peabody Essex Museum

Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum’s collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time — including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM’s campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-four noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States, and the Phillips Library, which holds one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday10 am-5 pm. Closed Mondays (except holidays), Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $17; students $12. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866‐745‐1876 or visit

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