Exhibitions, Lectures

Opening Discussion for Measure

Courtesy of Anna Von MertensCourtesy of Anna Von Mertens

Join the artist Anna Von Mertens for an opening discussion and reception for her exhibition, Measure.

Von Mertens will engage in conversation with Jennifer L. Roberts, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts, Radcliffe Institute, and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Anna Von Mertens uses the structures of quilting and drawing to explore the frontiers of human understanding. In this commissioned exhibition for the Radcliffe Institute, she explores the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the women “computers” hired to study glass-plate astronomical photographs at the Harvard College Observatory a century ago. Leavitt searched for patterns among these glassy stars, and her findings provided a unit of measurement for galactic distances. Her patient work at her desk, reimagined in Von Mertens’s meticulous stitches and intricate graphite marks, led us to our current understanding of the size and shape of the cosmos. Von Mertens examines the units of understanding that are held in single actions: the sewing of a stitch or the gauging of the brightness of a single star. What is embedded in those actions? What is built with their repetition? What meaning is held in a single life?

Registration is closed, but walk-in attendees will be accommodated if space is available.

Free and open to the public.


Courtesy of Anna Von MertensCourtesy of Anna Von Mertens