Category Archives: Exhibitions

The Longest Painting in America

Longer than the Empire State Building is tall. Longer than three Statues of Liberty. Longer than fourteen blue whales. The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World is on view at Kilburn Mill, New Bedford, until October.

All 1,275 feet of the panorama are currently on exhibit for the first time in generations, authentically depicting a whaling voyage originating from the port of New Bedford in the mid-19th century. Two years in the making, the narrative work was completed around 1848 in five rolls by New Bedford artists Caleb Purrington and Benjamin Russell, who traveled it around the country as a commercial enterprise.

The first four of Purrington and Russell’s rolls have been conserved and installed to the public thanks to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The location of the fifth and final section is unknown but hopefully the publicity this display receives will lead to the discovered of the last section.


Benjamin Russell lost his money in a banking scandal and signed on to a whaling ship that took him around the world. This is the trip he depicts, with a few historical events added throughout. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life are just a few of the literary sources referenced in the painting.

The four cotton rolls are hanging thanks to hundreds of magnets so that no damage will be done to the actual painting, and so that the entire display can travel if another venue is found somewhere around the country. Until then, the panorama has been digitized and can be viewed here:

See also: Allan Forbes, Whale ships and whaling scenes as portrayed by Benjamin Russell. Presenting reproductions in color of the paintings of the foremost artist in that field edited by Ralph M. Eastman, assisted by K.G. Rogers (Boston: Second Bank-State Street Trust Co., 1955). Forrestal Annex ND237.R86 F7

International Xiloprint Exhibition 2019

A new collection catalogue was received today from the Casa da Xilogravura Museum in Campos do Jordão, Brazil, where they just launched a bilingual website:

“The Casa da Xilogravura Museum was created by Antonio Fernando Costella, a lawyer graduated from the Law School of Largo São Francisco. Also [a] journalist, Costella was university professor and to this day he is head of the initiatives of the museum.”

Printers take note: The Museum is scheduling a major international exhibition: XiloPrint 2019 and writes “The Xylography Museum invites all the engravers of the world to take part in the International Xiloprint Exhibition 2019 Brazil.”

Every printmaker in the world is asked to send one woodcut or wood engraving through November 30, 2018, to
Museu Casa Da Xilogravura
Caixa postal 42
12460-000 Campos do Jordão

Moby Dick crosses over

Congratulations to our colleagues at the Princeton University Art Museum, where the exhibition Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking opened this weekend and can be seen through Sunday, September 23, 2018. The show features a number of books from our collections and highlights Stella’s inspiration from literature. Organized in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the artist’s graduation as a member of the Class of 1958, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.

See above our three volume Moby Dick, with prints by Rockwell Kent, installed so you can see Stella’s responding print on the wall. Label copy gives the viewer a quote from the book’s text, rather than an art historical commentary.

“Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking focuses on a revolutionary period in the artist’s printmaking career, between 1984 and 1999, when Stella executed four ambitious print series, each of which was named after a distinct literary work: the Passover song Had Gadya, a compilation of Italian folktales, the epic American novel Moby-Dick, and the illustrated The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. In the four series titled after these sources, Stella created prints of unprecedented scale and complexity, transforming his own visual language—as well as his working process in all media—and reaching a technical and expressive milestone in printmaking.”—PUAM press release.

See more:


Congratulations to our colleagues at the Princeton University Art Museum, where the exhibition “Hanne Darboven’s Address — Place and Time” opens today. As the press release notes, the show “presents a selection of works that explore how space, time and communication were organized and experienced in 20th-century European culture. Using a variety of techniques for drawing, writing and arithmetical calculation, Darboven reconfigured elements derived from the Gregorian calendar, the postal system and personal correspondence, including picture postcards and handwritten letters.”

Work by Darboven (1941–2009) and Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) from Rare Books and Special Collections are included, with additional Darbovens on view in the Marquand Library in McCormick Hall and in the Department of German in East Pyne Hall.

A day of programming will celebrate the opening beginning at 1:30 on Friday, April 26. Poster and schedule:

To hear more, watch the Artists on Artists Lecture on Hanne Darboven with Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi at the Dia Art Foundation from March 7, 2017:

Puerto Rican Graphic Arts

Yiyo Tirado Rivera (born 1990), Betancinados, 2016. Xilography.  Collection of Alma Concepcion and Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones.

Inspired by the emblematic figure of Ramón Emeterio Betances (1827-1898), Puerto Rican radical abolitionist and revolutionary. Betances lived in exile in France most of his life and was one of the major leaders of the Grito de Lares (1868), an armed insurrection against the Spanish colonial regime.

This print is one of the highlights of the exhibition Puerto Rican Graphic Arts on view in Aaron Burr Hall, Princeton University, in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Program in Latin American Studies. For more images and additional events, see:



Antonio Martorell (born 1939), Mask, 1979. Screen print and collage. Collection of Alma Concepcion and Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones.

From the portfolio Loas, 1979, based on a text on Afro-Caribbean deities and rituals by Antonio T. Díaz-Royo. This text inspired Atibón Ogú, Erzulí, a choreodrama by Alma Concepción, for Taller de Histriones, a Puerto Rican mime company directed by Gilda Navarra. Set designs, costumes, and body art by Martorell. Music by Emmanuel “Sunshine” Logroño.


Born in 1939, Jose Rosa studied at the Taller del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueño (Graphic Arts Workshop of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture) run by Lorenzo Homar (1913-2004) and later succeeded Homar as the workshop’s director. As this poster demonstrates, he was a master of screen printing.

The print was later exhibited and reproduced in the catalogue José Rosa: Exposición Homenaje: Obra Gráfica, 1963-1996: Antiguo Arsenal de la Marina Española, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico, 29 de abril al 31 de agosto de 1998 ([San Juan, P.R.]: Programa de Artes Plástica, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1998).


Myrna Báez (born 1931), Baile, 1963. Linocut and woodcut. Inspired by traditional Puerto Rican dance and music. Collection of Alma Concepcion and Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones.

Jukhee Kwon

Colleagues from the Art Libraries Association (ARLIS) converge on New York in a few days. Various galleries around town have book themes and one recommended stop on their gallery tour will be Metamorphosis, featuring the work of the South Korean artist Jukhee Kwon at the Ierimonti Gallery on the Lower East Side. Kwon uses discarded books to create word sculpture, installed to simulate a paper forest. Zoom in below ↓

According to the press release “The idiosyncratic social life and energy possessed by each book is returned to its inception as a tree, wherein the spine of the book becomes the root system and each page acts as a branch. Kwon’s creative process deconstructs the book into the set of its meanings, splicing it into each stage of its vital cycle.”

Artists’ books and hand-made posters

The exhibition “This font was handmade by literally chopping off the serifs of Princeton Monticello,” is on view at the Hurley Gallery in the Lewis Arts complex now through February 23, 2018.

The show includes hand-made posters and artists’ books by Princeton University seniors and juniors in the Program in Visual Arts, curated by faculty member Pam Lins. In both, the students explore unique formats for image and text combinations, many going far beyond the usual codex format or flat sheet of paper.

Their website notes, “The senior posters are a response to a project for the students in the Exhibition Issues and Methods Seminar to make a “handmade” poster while considering their upcoming spring thesis shows. The students determined what “handmade” could mean to them at this point in digital culture and gave them a chance to contemplate the history of artists producing their own visual aids in regards to their exhibitions.”

For these class, students also view and study the historical artists’ books in the Rare Book and Special Collections Library at Princeton University. Here are a few samples of their work.

The History of Printing in Eight Hours

Many of you will remember the wonderful exhibition, The Printed Picture at The Museum of Modern Art in 2008–2009, co-curated by Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography, and Richard Benson, Dean of the Yale University School of Art. Some of you might have been in the gallery over the two days in May and June 2008 for Benson’s 8 hour lecture on the entire history of printing.

If not, this website posted by the Yale Art Gallery allows you to see the entire series of talks explaining ink, photographic, and digital printing processes, augmented with information from the book, The Printed Picture, authored by Richard Benson.

He begins with hand prints on caves walls and ends with a digital print after Paul Strand along with a lesson on the intrinsic value of a print. Here is just a tiny clip:

The New York Times obituary for Richard Benson, June 27, 2017:

Map to Printing Museums

A new interactive map has been posted by the Association of European Printing Museums (AEPM). It is searchable and provides the names and contact details for museums of printing and academic institution with printing programs as well as cultural heritage organizations of interest to the graphic arts community. Text is in English and French.

I’ve tried it on my phone and my desktop computer, seems to work fine on either. Not only are museums of printing included but according to their website “the map can also lead you to newspapers, advertising, packaging, papermaking, graphic design, etc.; textile printing museums; bibliographical presses, libraries and archives with permanent or regular temporary exhibitions related to printing and printed products; workshops actively involved in preserving and transmitting printing heritage.”

The AEPM was founded in Grevenmacher (Luxembourg) in February 2003 with the aim of encouraging co-operation among European printing museums and promoting printing heritage as an important part of European cultural heritage. AEPM member organizations are marked in purple (note: Princeton University’s Firestone Library is a member and so, in purple). Click on the flag to obtain the name, address, and link to the website. Other museums, libraries and heritage workshops are marked in pink with the name and link to the website.

They are willing to add more sites, if you see something they has missed or for new organizations. Contact them with details at



John Cotton Dana

John Grabach (1886-1981), Building the Garden State Parkway, 1952.

There are only a few weeks left to see Newark and the Culture of Art: 1900-1960 at Morven Museum & Garden. The exhibit celebrates the early cultural history of Newark and the seminal accomplishments of John Cotton Dana (1856-1929).

Dana studied law and passed the bar in New York before switching careers and becoming director of libraries in Colorado, Massachusetts, and finally Newark, New Jersey, from 1902 until 1929. During his early years at the Newark Public Library, Dana drew exhibits from their large collection of graphic arts and by 1909, converted the library’s fourth floor into a museum. It is thanks to his leadership, Morven’s exhibit shows us, that many–now famous–artists got their start.

Like Princeton University Library (which loaned one small volume) and many other library collections in the early twentieth century, prints and photographs were collected, housed, and made accessible to the general public from the local library, long before local museums were established. Under Dana, the Newark Library also started a loaned program to distribute fine art prints to the public, just as Princeton once did for its students.

Morven’s exhibition hosts many of the great early American modernists, including John Marin, Max Weber, and Stuart Davis. Near the Davis canvas, the curator has given us information about the mural he painted in the 1920s behind the soda fountain at Sparks Nut Shop for his friend Gar Sparks (preserved only by a photograph Mrs. Davis kept).

There are many works by local New Jersey artists, such as Building the Garden State Parkway (1952) by John Grabach (1886-1981) [seen at the top and below left], who was born in Newark and moved north as far as Livingston. Grabach was one of the dedicated and beloved teachers at the Newark School of Industrial Design, which evolved from classes Dana initiated.

As he came and went each day, only two miles from the Garden State construction site, Grabach may have painted this scene on site rather than from memory.



There are also many female artists highlighted, such as Marjorie Lovelock (born 1907) seen here, along with multi-media work, textiles, sculpture, and furniture.

Playing on the second floor is the 1926 film Sightseeing in Newark, which is also available on YouTube and elsewhere online.