Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Museum Is the Refugee’s Home

By Jason Farago
Liu Xiaodong, in his painting “Refugees 4” (2015), depicts Syrian refugees at the port of Lesbos gathered together in a moment of rest. A show at the Phillips Collection features 75 artists on migration and displacement.
WASHINGTON — “In the first place, we don’t like to be called ‘refugees,’” Hannah Arendt wrote in 1943. She was in New York by then. "Hell is no longer a religious belief or a fantasy, but something as real as houses and stones and trees,” Arendt wrote. Today the United Nations estimates that there are 25.9 million refugees worldwide, the highest number recorded since Arendt and countless others fled their homes during World War II. These are the lives that populate “The Warmth of Other Suns,” a poignant, solemn and utterly shaming exhibition through Sept. 22 at the Phillips Collection here. The show fills the Washington museum with the work of 75 artists, some staring down current crises of migration, others with more poetic views of movement and displacement. [More]