Davis Museum at Wellesley College reopens to the public
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Davis Museum at Wellesley College reopens to the public
Stephen Tourlentes, Wyoming State Death House Prison, Rawlins, Wyoming, 2000, from the series Of Length and Measures: Prison and the American Landscape, 1996–ongoing. Photograph, 40 x 50 inches. Courtesy the artist and Carroll and Sons, Boston.

WELLESLEY, MASS.- The Davis Museum at Wellesley College reopened to the public on Tuesday, March 8 for the first time since closing due to the pandemic on March 6, 2020. Visitors will once again have the opportunity to explore the encyclopedic permanent collections, as well as five new special exhibitions. The exhibitions feature photography documenting mass incarceration, Dutch and Flemish prints, early travel photography of Pompeii, an installation commissioned by the Davis by Komatsu Hiroko, and a video installation by Sondra Perry. The current special exhibitions will be on view through Sunday, June 5, 2022.

“There is palpable excitement around the galleries as we prepare to welcome back our visitors, and our community,” said Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. “Once again, we are able to share the hidden gems in our collections and continue Wellesley’s legacy of teaching through first-hand encounters with art across cultures.”

The five temporary exhibitions that will be on view through June 5 are below:

Prison Nation

Prison Nation addresses the unique role photography plays in creating a visual record of this national crisis, despite the increasing difficulty of gaining access inside prisons. Incarceration impacts all of us. Americans, even those who have never been to a prison or had a relative incarcerated, are all implicated in a form of governance that uses prison as a solution to many social, economic, and political problems. Empathy and political awareness are essential to creating systemic change—and through this exhibition, and the accompanying series of public programs, Prison Nation may provoke us to see parts of ourselves in the lives of those on the inside. Aperture's Prison Nation exhibition was made possible by lead support from the Ford Foundation. Additional generous support was provided by the Reba Judith Sandler Foundation. Organized for the Davis Museum by Sonja Novak Koerner '51 Senior Curator of Collections and Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs Amanda Gilvin, this exhibition is presented at the Davis with generous support from the Mildred Cooper Glimcher '61 Endowed Fund, the Anonymous ’70 Endowed Davis Museum Program Fund, the Palley Endowment Fund for Davis Museum Outreach Programs, and Betty P. Rauch '65

Philosophers, Muses, and Gods: The Ancient World in Dutch and Flemish Prints

This exhibition addresses the widespread, multidisciplinary engagement with Greco-Roman antiquity among scholars, students, and art collectors in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Northern Europe. Engravings and illustrated books drawn from the holdings of the Davis Museum and Special Collections highlight how printed media reproduced and circulated knowledge about ancient art, literature, philosophy, science, and political history on a scale unprecedented before the development of printing technology. This exhibition is curated by Heather Hughes, Kemper Assistant Curator of Academic Affairs and Exhibitions, with generous support from the Marjorie Schechter Bronfman '38 and Gerald Bronfman Endowment for Works on Paper and with special thanks to Wellesley College Special Collections.

Picturing Pompeii: Archaeology and Early Travel Photography

Picturing Pompeii explores how the nineteenth-century advent of photography shaped Italy’s developing tourist industry and had an indelible impact on the public perception of Pompeii’s ancient ruins. This exhibition is curated by Nicole Berlin, Assistant Curator of Collections, with support from the Sandra Cohen Bakalar '55 Fund.

Komatsu Hiroko: Creative Destruction

The award-winning photographer Komatsu Hiroko has developed her latest installation, Self-Slowing Error, specifically for the Davis Museum’s Levine Gallery. Komatsu uses 8x10 prints, large rolls of uncut photographic paper, and videos filmed during previous exhibitions to coat the gallery in monochrome, generating a uniquely embodied experience of photography. In the wake of massive redevelopment projects in her home city of Tokyo, this installation reflects on the logic of capitalism, questioning the cycles of creation and destruction that define urban space in the twenty-first century.

Curated by Carrie Cushman, the former Linda Wyatt Gruber ‘66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography, this exhibition is generously supported by a grant from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis, the Mildred Cooper Glimcher '61 Endowed Fund, and the Anonymous ’70 Endowed Davis Museum Program Fund.

Sondra Perry: IT’S IN THE GAME ‘17 or Mirror Gag for Vitrine and Projection

IT’S IN THE GAME ‘17 or Mirror Gag for Vitrine and Projection grew out of artist Sondra Perry’s conversation with her twin brother, Sandy, about how their experiences in higher education were equally rife with racism, class discrimination, and exploitation. Juxtaposed with family photos, video game clips, and virtual sculptural animations, the siblings chat as they walk through museum galleries. Through these refracted reflections, Perry exposes the colonial histories and racist presence of today’s leisure activities—like video games and museum visits. Commissioned by the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (HOK) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania, this exhibition was curated for the Davis by Sonja Novak Koerner '51 Senior Curator of Collections and Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs Amanda Gilvin with generous funding from The Helyn MacLean Endowed Program Fund for Contemporary and South Asian Art and the Joan Levine Freedman '57 and Richard I. Freedman Gallery Gift. Courtesy of the artist and the Bridget Donahue Gallery.

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