Huth, Boeing, Salmon and Haws Galleries
April 2 – June 25, 2023
The mystique of secret societies, with their cryptic signs, gestures, and arcane rituals, has been embedded in our American experience since the early 18th century. Before the age of mass production, artists who painted a portrait or embellished a piece of furniture might have also decorated a parade banner, an apron, symbols on a chart, or a backdrop for a fraternal lodge. More importantly, he or she encoded the ideals of fellowship, labor, charity, passage, and wisdom – the core of fraternal teachings – into the many forms associated with fraternal practice. The iconic art and objects showcased in Mystery and Benevolence relate the tenets of fraternal belief through a potent blend of highly charged imagery, form, and meaning. The exhibition explores the fascinating visual landscape of fraternal culture through almost 200 works of art comprising a major gift to the American Folk Art Museum from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection. Organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.