Exhibitions

Measure

Courtesy of Anna Von MertensCourtesy of Anna Von Mertens

This exhibition opens on November 9, 2018 and runs through January 19, 2019.

It will be on view in the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery of Byerly Hall at 8 Garden Street, Radcliffe Yard, Monday through Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m.

On November 8, 2018, there will be an exhibition opening discussion and reception at 5 p.m. in the Knafel Center.

Free and open to the public.


Anna Von Mertens uses the structures of quilting and drawing to examine the frontiers of human understanding. In this exhibition commissioned for the Radcliffe Institute, Von Mertens explores the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the women “computers” hired a century ago to study glass-plate astronomical photographs at the Harvard College Observatory. Leavitt searched for patterns among these glassy stars, and her findings provided a unit of measurement for galactic distances and led to our current understanding of the shape of the cosmos. Von Mertens’s meticulous stitches and intricate graphite marks reimagine Leavitt’s patient work, exploring the potency of single, measured actions as units of understanding.

Exhibition organized by Jennifer L. Roberts, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts, Radcliffe Institute, and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University


Measure Gallery Series

In this series of events held in the gallery, Harvard students, faculty, and staff members from across the disciplinary spectrum respond to Anna Von Mertens’s work. 

Astronomical Glass Plates Open House
November 14, noon, and December 10, 3:30 PM
Display of and Q and A with Lindsay Smith Krull, Curator of the Astronomical Photographs, about the glass plates that Henrietta Leavitt used to study and measure celestial objects.
Please register and join us.

VISION LAB: A Performative Conversation on “Frontiers of Human Understanding”
November 15, 3:30 PM
A creative and performative discussion of spiritual, intellectual, artistic, and environmental possibilities inspired by the exhibition
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us.

The Cloths of Heaven: Live Performance by the Harvard College Opera
November 16, 3:30 PM, and December 6, 3:30 PM
Harvard College Opera celebrates astronomical journeys, celestial joy, and out-of-this-world inspiration in a recital of art songs, arias, and world-premiere compositions.
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us.

Stairway to Heaven: Henrietta Leavitt and the Cosmic Distance Ladder
November 27, 3:30 PM
The science and the controversies behind the exhibition’s exploration of cosmic distance with the astrophysicists João Alves RI ’19 and Alyssa Goodman, RI ’16, faculty codirector of Radcliffe’s science program, and Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy at Harvard
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us.

Live Performance: Preparatory Musical Readings of the Hanging Quilts of Measure
November 28, noon
Max Murray (tuba) and Adi Snir (saxophone, trumpophone) perform the art of the exhibition as musical compositions.
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us.

The Space Between: A Live Performance by the Harvard Ballet Company
November 29, 3:30 PM, and December 7, 3:30 PM
The Harvard Ballet Company offers an improvisational dance installation inspired by the exhibition.
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us. 

Kilo Girl Hours at the Harvard Observatory
November 30, 3:30 PM
Discussion of the scientific and historical value of the female computers’ notations on the astronomical glass plates with Sara Schechner, David P. Wheatland Curator of the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us.

Philosophical Threads: Discussion on Aesthetics 
December 3, 2018, 3:30 PM
A discussion of the roles of aesthetics in science and mathematics with Ned Hall, Samantha Matherne, and David Edwards.
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us.

Visible and Invisible Lines: Quilts and Art
December 5, noon
An exploration of the functional, moral, and aesthetic value of the stitch in American quilt making with Felicity Lufkin, lecturer on folklore and mythology at Harvard University
Light reception to follow.
Please register and join us.


Read about all 2018–2019 exhibitions at the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery in Radcliffe Yard at https://onviewatradcliffe.org/.