The National Park Service in Hyde Park opens the new year with selections from the photographic series Theodore Roosevelt – “How I Love Sagamore Hill” by Xiomáro. The New York artist, also known as “X”, was commissioned by the National Park Service to photograph the interiors of the president’s house at what is now Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. The series was created during the removal of the mansion’s contents and furnishings as part of a three-year, $7.2 million structural rehabilitation. A limited edition photo eBook, based on the exhibit, can be downloaded for free at www.xiomaro.com.
The two large photographs featured in the free exhibit will remain on view at the Wallace Center from January 6 to February 22, 2014. The images are drawn from a more extensive exhibit on display at Harvard University to coincide with filmmaker Ken Burns’ 2014 release of The Roosevelts, which explores the political dynasty of TR, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. The exhibit at Wallace closes with a free Community Photography Workshop on Saturday, February 22, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. X will present five principles for improving one’s photography in his talk “Learning to Look.”
X’s photographs show the house in a historically rare condition: the 23 room mansion, usually chock full of furnishings and mementos, was nearly vacant. Yet, “so much about the occupants is revealed by the house,” explained the artist. The image of TR’s North Room, where he met dignitaries, and the Master Bedroom, known by his children as “Mother’s Room,” reveal not only just the imposing character of America’s 26th president, but also the more intimate domestic nature of his family. “Some of these details,” continued X, “can easily be overwhelmed by a room’s furnishings or inaccessible to visitors behind velvet rope barriers.”
X is a nationally exhibited artist whose work has been covered by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Fine Art Connoisseur and other media outlets. He is known for using photography to draw attention to historical sites where American figures lived and worked to pursue their vision. Other commissions with the National Park Service include Old Mastic House at Fire Island National Seashore (home of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence) and the farmhouse and art studios at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut (home of J. Alden Weir, a founder of American impressionist painting). “My goal is that, after experiencing these collections, viewers will feel compelled to visit the parks where they, too, can examine these leaders and explore the ideas that shaped our culture,” explains the artist.