Films at The Phillips: Hold Me Down

Filmed in the locations where the events depicted actually occurred; in the Mott Haven Housing Projects and in an actual brothel, and features a cast of non-actors / women survivors of sexual exploitation and domestic violence, Hold Me Down depicts a day in the life of a 19-year-old single mother in the Bronx who works as a stripper at an illegal nightclub to support her child.

Written and directed by Swedish director Niclas Gillis, Hold Me Down was made with support from The Swedish Film Institute, Sveriges Television, and IFP. Following its world premiere at the Gothenburg International Film Festival, Hold Me Down has been celebrated for its authoritative realism and the outstanding performances of the cast.

The Phillips Collection will be hosting a screening of Hold Me Down on Thursday, October 18, at 6 pm. Following the film, the director Niclas Gillis will be in conversation with Klaus Ottmann, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at The Phillips Collection. Tickets available.

Nordic Impressions Opens to the Public this Saturday at The Phillips

Nordic Impressions is a major survey of Nordic art spanning nearly 200 years and presenting 53 artists. The exhibition celebrates the incredible artistic diversity of Nordic art, from idealized paintings of the distinctive Nordic light and untouched landscape to melancholic portraits in quiet interiors and mesmerizing video works that explore the human condition.

While the question of what constitutes a distinctively Nordic art has been a constant debate, the art in the exhibition retains a certain mystique and focus on themes that have held a special place in Nordic culture for centuries: light and darkness, inner life and exterior space, the coalescence of nature and folklore, and women’s rights and social liberalism.

(Finland) Akseli Gallen-Kallela, The Defense of The Sampo, 1896, Tempera on canvas, 48 x 49 3/16 in., Turku Art Museum

(Finland) Akseli Gallen-Kallela, The Defense of The Sampo, 1896, Tempera on canvas, 48 x 49 3/16 in., Turku Art Museum

The exhibition pays tribute to the artistic excellence of Nordic painters from the Golden Age and Romantic era, follows the artists who balanced nationalism and French influence, explores the influx of experimental and conceptual art, and considers the international platform of artists of today. Nordic Impressions demonstrates how Nordic artists have inspired each other across national boundaries while honoring deeply rooted cultural traditions.

Nordic Impressions opens on October 13 and runs through January 13.

Reflecting on Marking the Infinite with the Phillips’s Chief Diversity Officer, Makeba Clay

In September, The Phillips Collection hosted a special tour and conversation with members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an international public service organization headquartered in Washington, DC. We welcomed Delta Sigma Theta’s Committee on Arts and Letters Committee, which strives to advance African-American artists, art works, and organizations who foster this same mission. As you can imagine, this event brought forth a vibrant dialogue!

Members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority join The Phillips Collection’s Chief Diversity Officer, Makeba Clay to explore Marking the Infinite.

Members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority join The Phillips Collection’s Chief Diversity Officer, Makeba Clay to explore Marking the Infinite.

A guided tour with a gallery educator revealed a myriad of interesting insights; namely that some of the challenges Aboriginal Australian women experience mirror those of women of color in the US. These challenges, many spurred by the impact of colonialism and racial injustice, also revolved around access, equity, and visibility in the arts and beyond.

Links were easily made between indigenous Australian art and African art. Many likened the woven patterns to the widely known textiles of West Africa such as kente and batik. Designs, colors, and patterns inspired by nature gave way to movement, life, and energy in the fabrics. Some even reflected on the link to the Quilts of Gee’s Bend from Alabama. To our guests, the artworks communicated a narrative that connected aboriginal Australians to the African diaspora. This is an important lesson for any museum and one that the Phillips will be contemplating: depending on the background of the viewer, artwork can take on new meaning and life.

Art in all forms is a vehicle not just for expression but also social justice and change. The Phillips Collection has always leaned forward in this mission, incorporating the ethos of our founder, Duncan Phillips, as a progressive thinker and champion for many social causes. As our city and nation becomes more diverse, the Phillips actively works to reflect that diversity and to be accessible to all our audiences. Events such as this are a perfect and strategic collaboration for the museum that allow us to engage with and learn from public service, civic and social justice organizations like Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Conversations that emerge from this and future opportunities will continue to inform all facets of our work.

We look forward to more events and lively conversations with community partners. If you or your organization are interested in partnering with The Phillips, please reach out to our Manager of Marketing and Partnerships, Lia Seremetis, at