Raid the Icebox Now with Pablo Bronstein
Historical Rhode Island Decor presents three rooms decorated with new wallpapers and printed fabrics of my design. The wallpapers depict the Stephen Hopkins House, the First Baptist Church in America, and the Rhode Island State House, and reflect the development of the architectural imagery of statehood. The wallpaper and fabric serve as the backdrop to objects from RISD Museum’s storage to present plausible historical interiors. The wallpapers also refer to 18th- and early 19th-century examples in the museum’s collection and to the revival of Colonial and Federal styles at the beginning of the 20th century—styles that have not only contributed significantly to shared visual imagery, but have shaped notions of the past.
This installation pays homage to the period room, an exhibition practice now in decline. It also considers museological accuracy, the museum’s blurred relationship both as a place of scholarship and an inspiration for the home, and the ways in which museums submit to local historical biases and interests in shaping their collections and displays. Envisioned within the framework of printmaking, the presentation plays with architectural and decorative motifs, inventing imagery on a large scale in relation to sculptural furniture.
Pablo Bronstein was born in Argentina and lives and works in London and Deal, England. Drawing is his primary medium (see an example of his work in that medium in the 5th-floor European galleries), but he is also engaged in installations, choreography, and performance. Pulling from his deep knowledge and affection for historical architecture and the decorative arts, he interrogates these disciplines with humor and imagination for what they reveal about social ambitions, politics, and other concerns.
Raid the Icebox Now is made possible by a lead grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the RISD Museum Associates, Judy and Robert Mann, Taylor Box Company, and a generous in-kind gift from Meyer Sound Laboratories.
RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.