Boston’s Museum of Fine arts has put to together a stunning art exhibition, that will no doubt have progressive hipsters ooing and ahhing through their over-sized spectacles. Entitled “(un)expected families”, and curated by Jewish apple-pie lovin’, baseball playin’ American, Karen Haas, displays more than 80 photographs spanning from more than a hundred years ago to the Current Year. The photographs show how the American family has progressed from its oppressive origins as a patriarchal unit of a masculine man, a feminine woman and two smart, clean cut kids, into the multiplicity of exciting new family structures we have today. As Karen Haas explains:
“The family is such a basic social construct and something that most of us have experienced in one way or another over the course of our lives, so I hope that the work in the exhibition will resonate with our visitors on a very elemental level … The exhibition illustrates that the family has always taken diverse forms: affluent and destitute, cohesive and fractured, expected and unexpected. Taken together, the photographs challenge visitors to consider what family means to them.”
So lets take a sneak peek at some of the photos available for preview, to see how the American family has progressed.
The idea of the “nuclear family” is so silly when you understand that families are just social constructs and can really mean anything. Families don’t even have to include children, a binary couple or any of the things we traditionally associate with families. It can be three womyn and one non-binary; two gay men, ten adopted African children and three undocumented Americans; or six non-binaries and one child. The beauty of the modern family is that it can take so many forms, and this art exhibition shows that. I strongly encourage anyone in the area to pay a visit, and open up their minds to the possibility of something less oppressive than the traditional American family.