The Speed’s Eerie ‘Supernatural America’ Exhibit Opens Friday

The Speed Art Museum’s highly anticipated “Supernatural America” exhibit opens this Friday, Oct. 8, exploring the country’s “complex and complicated relationship to the otherworldly.”

The show looks at the supernatural and spiritual in America for the last 200 years. It will include over 220 types of art and objets d’art (even those that weren’t intended to be art pieces). Those items include paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, prints, photographs, furniture, clothing and textiles to videos, scientific instruments, and mediumistic and other occult paraphernalia. Expect to see well-known artists alongside those who have never before graced an exhibition covering American art. 

The show will also consider multiple spiritual traditions including Indigenous spiritual practices, puritanical ideas and the Salem Witch Trials, as well as Afrofuturism, which has given the visual and performing arts many touchstones.

The exhibit “asks why America is haunted,” according to the Speed’s website. America’s ghosts include the specters of a violent history, marred by Native American genocide, slavery and the Civil War, the website continues. These have periodically resurfaced “to make the present face the past.”

This show was organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Museum members can enjoy a sneak preview on Thursday, Oct. 7. 

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The Speed’s Friday, Oct. 15 After Hours event is inspired by the exhibition, featuring tarot card readings and a talk about the supernatural in American art, led by Graham Boettcher, the R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art. 

The Speed museum kindly reminds all guests to wear masks while visiting. Beginning Oct. 15, museum visitors ages 12 and up will have to start providing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from within the past 72 hours.

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