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Supernatural America opens at Speed Art Museum just in time for spooky season

And Spirits by Agatha Wojciechowsky
Courtesy of the Speed Art Museum
And Spirits by Agatha Wojciechowsky

There’s a spirit in the air.

Haunting images fill the space.

Eerie sounds surround you as ghostly faces peer from inside a painting.

This is Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art at the Speed Art Museum. It opened October 7 for members and October 8 for everyone else.

“It is a sprawling topic, and it looks at 250 years of artwork made by artists who are trying to visualize the unseen or the intangible or the misunderstood,” said Erika Holmquist-Wall, the curator of painting and sculpture at the Speed Art Museum.

Holmquist-Wall said this is the largest exhibition that the Speed has ever hosted. She worked closely with peers at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, who organized the exhibition, to not only have it come to Louisville but also have it on display through the rest of the year. 

On the surface, the two-floor exhibition could appear to be a collection of supernatural-inspired pieces, but a deeper examination of the work reveals haunted histories of America that confront the violence the nation was built on. 

“The first section you can visit is America as a Haunted Place, which really deals primarily with the questions around how we deal with the ghosts of our past,” Holmquist-Wall said.

The second floor’s collection includes paintings, videos and sculptures that explore several topics like ghosts, the occult and aliens. 

“Every piece in the exhibition reminds us that we can not discount other people’s experiences,” Holmquist-Wall said. “Whether that is a UFO experience, an experience of a ghost, or even take that broader into larger themes, cultural themes we’re living within 2021 America.”

Entry to the exhibition is included in the regular admission cost.  Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art will be displayed through January 2, 2021.

Support for this story was provided in part by the  Great Meadows Foundation.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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