JULY 20-DECEMBER 1, 2024

Opening Event on Upstate Art Weekend

In the Main House & Grounds


ALAN MICHELSON: Prophetstown is a site-responsive solo exhibition presented throughout Thomas Cole’s 19th-century home and grounds. Addressing, from an Indigenous perspective, history, landscape, ecology, and their many intersections, the exhibition includes a room-size installation of Prophetstown, as well as other video and mixed media works installed in conversation with the historic house, collections, and landscape.

Titled after the community on the Wabash founded in 1808 by Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (aka the “Prophet”), Prophetstown is both an homage to their movement to unite the tribes against settler encroachment, and a critical engagement with American culture and history. Featuring paper models overlaid with texts or other treatments, Prophetstown mixes fictional references – the log cabin in Thomas Cole’s 1847 painting Home in the Woods, for example – with historical ones like a facsimile of the illicit 1809 Treaty of Fort Wayne.

The exhibition is part of the annual exhibition series, OPEN HOUSE: Contemporary Art in Conversation with Cole, a program that activates the legacy of the historic artists’ home and studios by inviting contemporary artists to create unique site-responsive exhibitions across the site. The exhibition is curated in collaboration with the artist by Kate Menconeri, Chief Curator, and Amanda Malmstrom, Associate Curator.

Alan Michelson (Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River) is an internationally recognized New York-based artist, curator, writer, and lecturer. For more than 30 years, he has been a leading practitioner of a socially engaged, critically aware, site-specific art grounded in local context and informed by the retrieval of suppressed histories. Recent exhibitions include the 14th Gwangju Biennale, Enmeshed at the Tate Modern, Greater New York 2021 at MoMA/PS1, and Alan Michelson: Wolf Nation at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Michelson’s work is represented in such prominent collections as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. His varied practice includes award-winning public art, and The Knowledge Keepers, his inaugural Huntington Avenue Entrance Commission for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will open on November 14, 2024.


Exhibition Opening

An opening celebration with the artist will be held at the Thomas Cole Site on Saturday, July 20, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm in conjunction with Upstate Art Weekend.

All are welcome. If you are able to, please consider becoming a member. 

ALAN MICHELSON: Prophetstown is supported by David Bury & The Bay and Paul Foundations.

This exhibition is supported by a Market New York grant from Empire State Development and I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Additional support is provided by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, Becky Gochman, Athens Fine Art Services LLC, Kristin Gamble, Patti Hanson, and the Kindred Spirits Society.



® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.

Cover Image: Alan Michelson, Prophetstown: Cherokee Phoenix Print Shop, 2012, handmade paper, archival ink, archival board, and balsa wood, 19 x 17.25 x 31 in., Courtesy the artist

Meg DiStefanoProphetstown