CORNING, N.Y. (July 29, 2016) – The Rockwell Museum is pleased to announce the opening of the 40th Anniversary exhibition, 40 for 40: Anniversary Highlights from The Rockwell Collection.  Curated by Celebrity Guest Artists Steven & William Ladd, the anniversary exhibition will open September 24, 2016 and will be on view through January 15, 2017.

In celebration of The Rockwell Museum’s 40th anniversary, guest artists Steven Ladd and William Ladd were asked to curate an exhibition that reflects their American experience. The brothers mined The Rockwell’s collection in order to create 40 visual stories. Each object has been installed in a unique grouping designed to alter its original meaning, encouraging us to view them in a new light. In 40 for 40, the artistic creation is the new context rather than the objects themselves. The Ladds will also install select pieces of their own work alongside objects curated from The Rockwell’s collection in order to better tell their American story. Universal themes such as “Childhood,” “Home,” and “Ceremony” will resonate with museum visitors.

“Forty for 40 explores the art of looking! It does not require a knowledge of art. It prompts us to filter each work through the lens of our own personal experience. This new approach to curation has never before been explored at The Rockwell. This 40th anniversary exhibition will provoke our visitors’ curiosity, ignite imagination, and challenge their perspectives,” says Kirsty Buchanan, Curator of Collections at The Rockwell Museum.

From toys, to firearms, to baskets and works on paper, The Ladd Brothers are finding inspiration in the museum’s memories, and are curating a collection of 40 Rockwell memories to commemorate 40 years. Visitors will find a little bit of everything in this guest-curated exhibit – all very different, all very Rockwell.

This exhibition is a culminating 40th anniversary show for The Rockwell as it has spent the last 18-months not only settling in as a new Smithsonian Affiliate, but also updating and rehanging every permanent collection gallery.  With some 3,000 objects between onsite display and storage to select from, this reinterpretation and 40th anniversary exhibition comes at an important time in institutional history.

“A fresh approach to the permanent galleries at The Rockwell stems from the expansion of our mission statement – Art about the American Experience – in an effort to contextualize the core collection of American Western art.  Each exhibition is inspired by our vision to challenge our visitor’s perspectives – to provoke curiosity – and to reflect and engage with art about America,” says Kristin Swain, Executive Director.

The Rockwell collection comprises of great American paintings, drawings, works on paper, Native American ethnographic objects, American illustrations, modern and contemporary art (post-war to present day), photography, arms and armor and works by celebrated western artists.

“Western art cannot be isolated from the larger context of American art and still maintain an authentic voice.  It must be heard within the greater conversation or else lose meaning,” says Kirsty Buchanan, curator of collections for The Rockwell Museum. “All the works in The Rockwell hold a significant place in western art history, making them an important component of the larger American story. This new focus enables us to enhance the core collections while also upgrading featured exhibits and special programming.”

About Steven and William Ladd
“Spend your life doing what you love, be focused and disciplined, collaborate.” That’s the motto of brothers, Steven and William Ladd.

The Ladds are professional artists who have been collaborating in New York City for over 16 years. As brothers and artistic collaborators based out of New York City, Steven and William Ladd have delved into a vast array of mediums – from fashion and costuming, to painting and drawing, to beading and textiles, to performance-art and construction projects. The brothers began their formal artistic collaboration in 2000. Their first creations were high fashion accessories for international designers, and their work was featured in an exhibition at the Musee des Arts decoratifs at the Louvre. Since then, they have explored many artistic avenues, their pieces range in scale from tiny cast ants to murals over 40 feet square. Recurring themes include childhood memories, faith, and people and places that have impacted their lives.

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Exhibition Video:

Hi-res images available upon request.