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Forever is Composed of Nows


Whether artists respond to history or look to the future, creativity exists in the moment. Drawn from the Everson’s permanent collection, Forever is Composed of Nows examines a multitude of snapshots of the present moment, grouped by theme, image, or idea across different time periods and media. By examining how artists spanning three centuries have approached their present—their now—using similar topics and motifs, this exhibition is a visual exploration of how values, societal customs, and art subjects have evolved over time.

Titled after and inspired by the Emily Dickinson poem, Forever is Composed of Nows presents the concept that whether an artist is responding to history or looking to the future, their creativity exists in the present, and every moment, past or future, was or will be a present moment—a now—for those experiencing it.

Forever – is composed of Nows –
By Emily Dickinson, ca. 1862

Forever – is composed of Nows –
‘Tis not a different time –
Except for Infiniteness –
And Latitude of Home –

From this – experienced Here –
Remove the Dates – to These –
Let Months dissolve in further Months –
And Years – exhale in Years –

Without Debate – or Pause –
Or Celebrated Days –
No different Our Years would be
From Anno Dominies –

Exhibition Space

Beatrice Wose-Smith, Little Falls, 1940, Oil on canvas, 48 x 54 inches, Everson Museum of Art; Gift of the Wose-Smith Collection, 72.23

Caroline Cheng, Prosperity V, 2007, Porcelain and fabric, 71 x 71 inches, Everson Museum of Art; Gift of the artist, 2019.2, Photo: Ferrin Contemporary