GWU Luther W. Brady Gallery Exhibits Work on Melville and Whitman
There's still time to visit the special exhibit at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery which was held in conjunction with the recent "Melville and Whitman in Washington: The Civil War Years and After" conference at GWU. The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery is located in the Media and Public Affairs Building, 2nd Floor, 805 21st Street, NW. The Gallery is located on the corner of 21st and H Streets NW. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 5pm. For more information: http://www.gwu.edu/~bradyart/brady/exhibitions.html
After Melville and Whitman: Contemporary Responses to the Civil WarApril 9 - July 4, 2013
2nd floor cases
L: Matt Kish, #112: "The third mate was Flask...," 12/23/2009, acrylic paint, ink and marker on found paper, 10" x 8-1/2". Courtesy The Melville Society. R: Doug Paisley, Chapter XXXII: Showing that the age of magic and magicians is not yet over, 2012, oil and acrylic on plywood, 24" x 16". Courtesy of the artist.
Herman Melville and Walt Whitman both hold a place in the canon of American literature. Their works greatly inspired artists past and present. Their subjects were not always directly about the Civil War, but the upheaval within their writing style has been associated with the national unease that tore apart the nation and turned "brother against brother."
This concept was also explored in the exhibition The Civil War and American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), November 16, 2012 - April 28, 2013. Visual artists, such as Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Frederic Church, and Sanford Gifford, depict scenes of soldiers at camp and snipers taking aim, but they also depict genre scenes of runaway and former slaves, dark storm clouds approaching, and ships stuck in ice. Altogether these images are a "portrait of war," just as Moby Dick and Whitman's poetry depicts this concept - an upheaval that grips an entire populace.
Matt Kish and Douglas Paisley have both created contemporary visual pieces based on Melville's works, Moby Dick and The Confidence-Man, respectively. We present their works alongside a number of photographs from the GW Permanent Collection. These images from the 19th century, depicting the Capitol Building, train stations for the B&O and Potomac Railways, and bridges both extant and long gone, are paired with excerpts from Whitman's journals and letters to display his experience. Whitman originally came to Washington, DC to look for his brother, a soldier in the Union army, but ended up staying until 1873.
A group of high school students from Anacostia High School, SEED Public Charter School, and School Without Walls, led by poet Holly Bass, toured the SAAM exhibition and from that visit, wrote poems that described their own portrait of war. Their poems are placed alongside the visual works to give a contemporary response to the Civil War.