Tiana Reid

  • View of “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room,” 2021–. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo: Anna-Marie Kellen.
    slant December 02, 2021

    Light Years

    IN HIS INTRODUCTION to Period Rooms in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1996), the longest-serving director of the New York museum, the now-retired Philippe de Montebello, notes the popularity of his subject. “Virtually everyone who visits the Museum’s American Wing finds there the opportunity to experience a sense of the way our forebears lived,” he writes. A period room is a museological device that combines architecture, furnishings, decorative art, and functional objects to represent an interior of a certain time, place, and style. A feature of many museums, the rooms purport to represent