America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

Kids can listen and learn from this audio guide highlighting selected works in America Is Hard to See.

Fred Wilson (b. 1954), Guarded View, 1991. Wood, paint, steel and fabric, dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the Peter Norton Family Foundation 97.84a-d © Fred Wilson

These mannequins are wearing actual uniforms that were worn in the early 1990s by real guards at four New York Museums: the Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, and the Museum of Modern Art. (You’ll see that the guards here wear different clothes today.)
The uniforms may be easily identifiable, but the faceless, headless figures of the security guards are totally anonymous. They only have one identifying feature, their brown skin.
The artist, Fred Wilson, also worked as a museum guard in college. He remembers how strange it was—people mostly ignored him. He once said, “You’re on display, just like everything else. But, unlike the artwork, you’re invisible.”
This installation reflects a belief that no person should be ignored or treated like they are invisible—not because of their job, and not because of their race.