From Wunderkammer to the Modern Museum
Thursday, Oct. 3 – Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, Faulconer Gallery
Starting on Thursday, Oct. 3, "From Wunderkammer to the Modern Museum, 1606 – 1884" will be on display at the Faulconer Gallery. The exhibition presents almost 100 rare and beautiful books drawn from the collection of Florence Fearrington, a former trustee of Grinnell College.
Modern museums and art galleries have their origins in late Renaissance private collections of artifacts gathered for study and admiration. These collections, or "wunderkammers," were the work of scholars, kings and priests, each driven to gather pieces of the world and fashion a personally coherent whole. "From Wunderkammer to the Modern Museum" documents the fascinating intersection of science and art in these collections, and explores the shift from private spaces to public institutions.
The exhibition at Faulconer Gallery is an edited version of the 2012 exhibition "Rooms of Wonder: From Wunderkammer to Museum 1599-1899," presented at the Grolier Club in New York. Lesley Wright, director of the Faulconer Gallery and lecturer in art, explains, "The 93 works assembled for the Faulconer's exhibition shed light on the beginnings of systematic collections as a part of the early modern explosion of knowledge. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of cabinets of curiosities (or Wunderkammers), this exhibition is ideal for a college museum."
Faulconer Gallery will host the following public events while "Wunderkammer" is on display:
- Thurs., Oct. 3, 4:15 p.m.: "Is a Crocodile a Work of Art? Seeing Objects in the Cabinet of Curiosities," a gallery talk by Paula Findlen, Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History and Director, Suppes Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Stanford University. Co-sponsored by the Center for Humanities.
- Thurs., Oct. 3, 5 p.m.: Opening reception. Refreshments will be served.
- Mondays and Thursdays, 12:15 p.m.: Yoga in the gallery with Monica St. Angelo for beginners and experienced practitioners. Co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell. Mats are provided.
- Sat., Oct. 12, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.: All ages welcome to the gallery's Community Day. Tour exhibitions and enjoy exciting interactive, hands-on activities. Refreshments will be served.
- Sun., Oct. 13, 7 p.m.: Indie musician Wesley Stace will bring his collection of singers, musicians, poets, and entertainers to Grinnell's Sebring-Lewis Hall.
- Sun., Nov. 17, 2 p.m.: Royce Wolf, associate professor of mathematics and statistics, will play piano, featuring selections by Sergei Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, Charles Ives, and Béla Bartók.
- Tues., Nov. 19, 4:15 p.m.: "Wonder and Culture." Vance Byrd, assistant professor of German; Vanessa Lyon, assistant professor of art; and Catherine Rod, special collections librarian, archivist of the College, and associate professor, will present a panel exploring how wonder infused and shaped cultural expression in the early modern period.
- Thurs., Nov. 21, 4:15 p.m.: "Wonder and the Scientific Method." James Lee, assistant professor of English; Tammy Nyden, associate professor of philosophy; and Joshua Sandquist, assistant professor of biology, will present a panel that brings together the idea of wonder with the development of science as we know it today.
- Thurs., Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.: Fresh Flutes concert, directed by Claudia Anderson, applied music associate.
- Tues., Dec. 3, 4:15 p.m.: "Evolving the Modern Museum." Students in Lesley Wright's Museum Studies class will explore selected pieces in the exhibition and discuss their significance in relation to contemporary museum practice.
"From Wunderkammer to the Modern Museum, 1606 – 1884" is open through Dec. 15. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, and admission is free.
Also on view in Burling Library is "Journeys of Wonder: From Curiosity to Insight," curated by Catherine Rod and Chris Jones, along with Chase Booth '16 and Sam Dunnington '14. "Journeys of Wonder" will be on display Sept. 27 through Feb. 14, 2014.