When the Reverend Henry Carmichael opened the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts in 1833, he introduced a bold directive: for Australia to advance on the scale of nations, it needed to develop a science of its own. Prominent scientists in the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria answered this call by participating in popular exhibitions far and near, from London’s Crystal Place in 1851 to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane during the final decades of the nineteenth century. A Science of Our Own explores the influential work of local botanists, chemists, and geologists—William B. Clarke, Joseph Bosisto, Robert Brough Smyth, and Ferdinand Mueller—who contributed to shaping a distinctive public science in Australia during the nineteenth century. It extends beyond the political underpinnings of the development of public science to consider the rich social and cultural context at its core. For the Australian colonies, as Peter H. Hoffenberg argues, these exhibitions not only offered a path to progress by promoting both the knowledge and authority of local scientists and public policies; they also ultimately redefined the relationship between science and society by representing and appealing to the growing popularity of science at home and abroad.
Winner of the 29th annual Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies
All museums are sex museums. In Sex Museums, Jennifer Tyburczy takes a hard look at the formation of Western sexuality—particularly how categories of sexual normalcy and perversity are formed—and asks what role museums have played in using display as a technique for disciplining sexuality. Most museum exhibits, she argues, assume that white, patriarchal heterosexuality and traditional structures of intimacy, gender, and race represent national sexual culture for their visitors. Sex Museums illuminates the history of such heteronormativity at most museums and proposes alternative approaches for the future of public display projects, while also offering the reader curatorial tactics—what she calls queer curatorship—for exhibiting diverse sexualities in the twenty-first century.
Tyburczy shows museums to be sites of culture-war theatrics, where dramatic civic struggles over how sex relates to public space, genealogies of taste and beauty, and performances of sexual identity are staged. Delving into the history of erotic artifacts, she analyzes how museums have historically approached the collection and display of the material culture of sex, which poses complex moral, political, and logistical dilemmas for the Western museum. Sex Museums unpacks the history of the museum and its intersections with the history of sexuality to argue that the Western museum context—from its inception to the present—marks a pivotal site in the construction of modern sexual subjectivity.
Official Companion to the Library of Congress Exhibition.
The campaign for women’s suffrage—considered the largest reform movement in American history—lasted more than seven decades. The struggle was not for the fainthearted. For years, determined women organized, lobbied, paraded, petitioned, lectured, picketed, and faced imprisonment in pursuit of the right to vote. Drawing from the Library’s extensive collections of photographs, personal papers, and the organizational records of such figures as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Church Terrell, Carrie Chapman Catt, the National Woman’s Party, and the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Shall Not Be Denied traces the movement leading to the women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, the contributions of suffragists who worked to persuade women that they deserved the same rights as men, the divergent political strategies and internal divisions they overcame, the push for a federal women’s suffrage amendment, and the legacy of the movement.
A companion to the exhibition staged by the Library of Congress, which opened on June 4, 2019—the 100th anniversary of the US Senate’s passage of the suffrage amendment that would become the 19th amendment—Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote is part of the national commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Published by Rutgers University Press in association with the Library of Congress.
How do you keep the cracks in Starry Night from spreading? How do you prevent artworks made of hugs or candies from disappearing? How do you render a fading photograph eternal—or should you attempt it at all? These are some of the questions that conservators, curators, registrars, and exhibition designers dealing with contemporary art face on a daily basis. In Still Life, Fernando Domínguez Rubio delves into one of the most important museums of the world, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, to explore the day-to-day dilemmas that museum workers face when the immortal artworks that we see in the exhibition room reveal themselves to be slowly unfolding disasters.
Still Life offers a fascinating and detailed ethnographic account of what it takes to prevent these disasters from happening. Going behind the scenes at MoMA, Domínguez Rubio provides a rare view of the vast technological apparatus—from climatic infrastructures and storage facilities, to conservation labs and machine rooms—and teams of workers—from conservators and engineers to guards and couriers—who fight to hold artworks still.
As MoMA reopens after a massive expansion and rearranging of its space and collections, Still Life not only offers a much-needed account of the spaces, actors, and forms of labor traditionally left out of the main narratives of art, but it also offers a timely meditation on how far we, as a society, are willing to go to keep the things we value from disappearing into oblivion.
America is haunted. Ghosts from its violent history—the genocide of Indigenous peoples, slavery, the threat of nuclear annihilation, and traumatic wars—are an inescapable and unsettled part of the nation’s heritage. Not merely in the realm of metaphor but present and tangible, urgently calling for contact, these otherworldly visitors have been central to our national identity. Through times of mourning and trauma, artists have been integral to visualizing ghosts, whether national or personal, and in doing so have embraced the uncanny and the inexplicable. This stunning catalog, accompanying the first major exhibition to assess the spectral in American art, explores the numerous ways American artists have made sense of their own experiences of the paranormal and the supernatural, developing a rich visual culture of the intangible.
Featuring artists from James McNeill Whistler and Kerry James Marshall to artist/mediums who made images with spirits during séances, this catalog covers more than two hundred years of the supernatural in American art. Here we find works that explore haunting, UFO sightings, and a broad range of experiential responses to other worldly contact.