Montclair Art Museum exhibit to feature photographic variations on Norman Rockwell works

Maggie Meiners Montclair

Maggie Meiners’ “Freedom From Want” photo, left, along with Norman Rockwell’s original “Freedom From Want.”

The Montclair Art Museum’s next major exhibition — “Fragile Freedoms: Maggie Meiners Revisits Rockwell” — will feature 18 of Meiner’s photographs of reimagined images from the work of painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell, alongside the original images.

Meiners’ “Freedom From Want” (2015), for instance, shows a gay couple hosting a big, joyful family meal, in contrast to Rockwell’s 1943 image of an older, hetrosexual couple, originally created for The Saturday Evening Post.

The exhibition will run from Feb. 7 to June 13 (with social distancing restrictions), after a members opening on Feb. 6.

According to a press release, Meiners’ photos “turn nostalgia on its head and rework Rockwell’s familiar imagery to address contemporary issues including racism, sexuality, gender roles, and the impact of technology. … The hope is that (the exhibition) will encourage new dialog in the community about how to protect our fragile freedoms and most vulnerable neighbors.”

The Winnetka, Ill.-based Meiners said in the press release that her intention is to “examine whether the nostalgia of Rockwell’s original works translates into our rapidly changing lifestyles and his very human tableaux can reflect this moment of time.”

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