WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Armenian Museum of America (AMA), together with the Thompson Gallery of the Cambridge School of Weston, presents a new exhibition, “Kiss The Ground—A New Armenia, Part I,” on view from Dec. 7 through Jan. 20, 2015.
Kiss the Ground takes its namesake from the etymology of one of the Armenian words for “worship.”[i] The word “yergurbakootyoon” literally means, “kissing the ground,” but means total submission—voluntary or involuntary. A gesture of the body, such as laying face down on the ground, is an act of deep veneration. The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church points out that “words and thoughts alone cannot express all that we believe,” nor can they express all that the Armenian people have endured—and that is why the gesture is one that requires great effort.
The Thompson Gallery and the Armenian Museum of America have joined forces to present Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia, a 5-part exhibition series centering on the art of 12 Armenian artists. In unison, the groupings of artists and exhibitions examine and highlight contemporary Armenian art at a particular moment in history, organized to coincide with the Centennial memorialization of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. At its core, the exhibition series is catalyzed by the contrast between celebration and remembrance.
Collectively, the work in Kiss the Ground—A New Armenia juxtaposes complicated issues for consideration, in which beauty often comingles with austerity. As the title of the series eludes, veneration requires effort. But such exertion also results in the recognition of a new experience, a new understanding, a new Armenia.
Regular museum hours are Thursday to Sunday, 12-6 p.m. Admission is $7 for non-members; $3 for seniors and students; and free to members and children under 16.