Curious and captivating, the nearly two hundred carvings, sculptures, textiles, and regalia revealed in Mystery and Benevolence bring to light the histories, symbolism, and values of the Freemasons and the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows—two fraternal brotherhoods with deep roots in American history. Through arcane and alluring artifacts such as grave markers, serpent-headed staffs, richly embroidered textiles, and ceremonial regalia, Mystery and Benevolence transports us to the “golden age” of American secret societies, when folk art and decorative art were brought together to confer a sense of legacy, status, and belonging in a newly established country.
Although we may know the mission and values of the Freemasons and Odd Fellows, we still find ourselves asking, “Why were they created, and why do they endure?” The enigmatic objects on view assume a profound and affecting sincerity, even as their highly-charged imagery fascinates, puzzles, and compels.
Available Package Options
More Details About Technical Requirements
Number of Works: 175 objects
Approximate size: 4,000 - 5,000 square feet
Shipping: IA&A makes all arrangements; exhibitors pay outgoing shipping costs within the contiguous U.S.
Booking Period: 12 weeks
Past and Future Venues
September – December 2021
January – April 2022
May – August 2022
September – December 2022
January – April 2023
May – August 2023
September – December 2023
January – April 2024
May – August 2024
*All tour dates can be customized to meet your scheduling needs. Please inquire for more information.
Mystery and Benevolence is one of three exhibitions organized in partnership with the American Folk Art Museum, New York.