Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries' provocative multimedia installation, The Beauty of Tyranny, is a contemporary reconsideration of Alfred Stieglitz's The Steerage. Stieglitz's iconic photogravure depicts impoverished steerage passengers, some of whom were rejected by U.S. immigration officers, on a ship leaving New York bound for Europe. Considered a canonical work of early American photography, The Steerage has also become synonymous with the immigrant experience at the turn of the 20th century when waves of Jewish and Eastern European immigrants arrived in the U.S. to avoid war and persecution.
Commissioned in conjunction with the exhibition Picket Fence to Picket Line: Visions of American Citizenship, The Beauty of Tyranny is exhibited with The Steerage in the Museum's Morgan Gallery. In this new work, YHCHI critically reflects on the various interpretations of The Steerage as well as art's relationship with the meaning of citizenship and democracy.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.