Introducing @busch_hall

By Lynette Roth, Lauren Hanson
August 6, 2021
Index Magazine

Introducing @busch_hall

A square grid of nine separate images is arranged in three rows. On the top row, from left to right, is a color poster for an event titled “Becoming Black” with a headshot of a young, light-skinned Black woman; a black and white photograph of a barrel-arched portal; and a painted portrait depicting a man in ceremonial military dress. In the second row is a black and white photograph of a forest in the fog, with the text “Art and Environment in the Third Reich” centered over it; a book cover with caricatured depictions of ethnographic types and the partially visible title “Constructing Race on the Borders of”; and a collage consisting of biomorphic forms in dark orange and orange-red intermittently placed against a blue field. In the third row is an image with the all-caps text “I am a citizen of the world” atop a graphic design of black and white ribbons interlacing over a burnt-orange background; an installation photograph of people viewing a projected video of a woman smearing paint
Recent posts on the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s new Instagram account, @busch_hall.

Founded as the Germanic Museum at the turn of the 20th century, the Busch-Reisinger Museum has reinvented itself spatially and conceptually on several occasions over its nearly 120-year history.

In recent years, the museum’s curatorial team has been reassessing what these moments of reinvention mean for the museum’s identity in the 21st century, asking how the Busch-Reisinger Museum can remain vital well into the future.

The temporary closure of the Harvard Art Museums in 2020 due to the global pandemic presented another such moment for self-reflection. It prompted the launch of a virtual space for examining and redefining the boundaries of this collection that specializes in art from central and northern Europe. Named for the historic site of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Adolphus Busch Hall, @busch_hall is a new online forum for us to reimagine German art, national identity, and our shared global future while also considering continuities and ruptures with the past.

Each week, the Busch-Reisinger’s curatorial team features works of art on @busch_hall to address complex issues, such as the foundations and origin myths of the museum, race and migration, and the interplay of art and identity. The posts reframe both iconic and underexamined works in our collection—many by women artists—and historicize the narratives around them. @busch_hall also engages with peer institutions by situating our re-evaluation of the role and identity of the museum in dialogue with current exhibitions, film screenings, and new scholarship. 

Every month, @busch_hall hosts conversations with established and emerging scholars, contemporary artists, and museum peers on Instagram Live. Launched in February 2021, the @busch_hall Conversations series, generously supported by the German Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, presents a variety of perspectives in a thoughtful yet relaxed format. Through these sessions, we can test and develop new thinking about the museum’s position and relevance in the 21st century.

Join the conversation @busch_hall