U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping of the People’s Republic of China on Jan. 29, 1979 in Washington, D.C., greet American schoolchildren who performed in Chinese the protest song that Deng Xiaoping sang three years earlier as he was being taunted by Chairman Mao’s cultural revolutionaries while being paraded through Tiananmen Square. (Photo: National Archives)
One of my favorite episodes of cultural diplomacy occurred in 1979 when Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping of the People’s Republic of China visited the United States to see President Jimmy Carter. This first state visit by a Chinese leader followed the normalization of formal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.
The title for this article is inspired by President Joe Biden’s statement on April 24, 2021, Armenian Remembrance Day, in which the United States officially recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915. This moment of recognition reminds me there is a vast difference between involuntary forgetting and intentional banishment from memory.
Things will be great when you're downtown
No finer place for sure downtown
Everything's waiting for you.
-- Petula Clark
Over the last ten years or so, scuttlebutt has it that the Albany Museum of Art will move downtown. Rumors as to when, where, why, and how it’s happening have swerved from fiction to truth to the absurd, like the telephone game children play.
Folks, here’s the skinny.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
nd Eternity in an hour
— From “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake
The new Butch Anthony exhibition at the Albany Museum of Art, Art, Nature, and Intertwangleism, may at first glance appear a panorama of animal life, removed from its original disposition, reconstituted, and made into art.
I was asked in a recent interview how artists have made sense of the pandemic.
German playwright Bertolt Brecht said,
“In the dark times
Will there be singing?
There will be singing
Of the dark times.”
I remember vividly the first time I witnessed the direct effects of a pandemic on human beings. It was 1989 when, as a freshman at the University of Southern California, I accompanied a photography student who was shooting portraits of terminal AIDS patients at a hospice not far from campus. I carried her lights and cables, and served as her tech support.
I came to Albany, Ga., and the Albany Museum of Art circuitously, by way of years of detours that led to yet other detours. All these led me to the right place—not necessarily at the right time, but they led me nevertheless.
I trust in detours. As the legendary Steve Jobs once stated, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Andrew J. "Andy" Wulf, Ph.D.
Andrew J. “Andy” Wulf is executive director of the Albany Museum of Art. A native of Los Angeles, he has a Ph.D. from the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, United Kingdom, and an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Southern California. Before coming to the AMA in October 2019, he was executive director of the New Mexico History Museum and the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, N.M. (2015-19) and supervisory museum curator for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (2010-15). Contact him at email@example.com.