Anna Von Mertens: Measure
Anna Von Mertens uses the structures of quilting and drawing to examine the frontiers of human understanding. In this exhibition, commissioned for the Harvard 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.
Anna Von Mertens received her MFA from the California College of the Arts and her BA from Brown University. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States, including at Ballroom Marfa; the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive; the deCordova Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the RISD Museum; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artist fellowship in the visual arts and a 2007 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award.
Curated by Jennifer L. Roberts, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Produced by Meg Rotzel, arts program manager
Exhibition design by Joe Zane, gallery coordinator
Curatorial intern, Rachel Vogel, doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art + Architecture, Harvard University