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Queens Chronicle

Creating a life with ‘Threads of Gold’

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:30 am

The Voelker Orth Museum is opening an exhibition of works entitled “Threads of Gold” by artist Lucia Maria Minervini, whose prints draw on the stories and images of the Voelker-Orth family.

“Once upon a time, a man left his home to find a new life,” Minervini writes. ”He traveled across the seas and arrived in the land of milk and honey. He married, had a family and achieved great commercial success and social standing. His progeny were all women and ‘Threads of Gold’ is my interpretation of their journeys and transformations.”

The museum, bird sanctuary and Victorian garden occupy a home purchased by a German immigrant named Conrad Voelcker, who emigrated from Germany in 1881.

After his death in 1930, the house became the home of his daughter, Theresa Voelker and her husband, Dr. Rudolph Orth.

Their daughter Elisabetha, who lived in the house most of her life, established the organization that runs the museum today. The group’s immediate goal was to restore the homestead.

“This is a true story, in which any resemblance to the facts is coincidental, a true tale of our incessant and universal wanderings,” Minervini said. “Their story, as does many of ours, follows the interminable process of immigration: arrival, exclusion and inclusion, creating personal histories through marriage, children, work, property, and with this, the possibility of class mobility and social integration.”

Installed throughout the museum, the works invite visitors to pause to sense a place and time and reflect upon a family’s dreams and experiences.

Minervini’s use of printing and book-making techniques and materials beckons viewers to consider associations with the art and with the items of everyday life now in the museum.

She speaks of the family with a tinge of folklore and many of her prints are almost dreamlike.

“Throughout, ‘Threads of Gold’ reverberates the constancy of place, a specific address that is universally called ‘home,’ Minervini said. “It is here that we bear the weight of lineage; here too is the battlefield of expectation and potential, where we dream and practice our privately public metamorphosis.”

‘Threads of Gold’
When: Wed., Sat. and Sun., 1 to 4 p.m., through June 1
Where: Voelker Orth Museum, 149-19 38 Ave., Flushing
Tickets: $2, vomuseum.org

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