Conversing with Things:
Drawings, Paintings, and Pastels by Karsten Harries

On view Wednesday, September 3 through Wednesday, December 10, 2014

These pictures do not try to make a point. They do not demonstrate anything. They seek to respond to some often not particularly memorable objects, a rock formation, a seashell, roots, flowers, fruit, garbage, and especially the sea. 

I have always liked to draw. Nothing of these early efforts has survived, except for a picture that I did in 1946 in bombed-out Munich. It was done for an exhibition of children’s art: we third graders had been asked to contrast the present with the past we remembered. In those difficult years I spent quite a bit of time in Munich’s Haus der Kunst. Especially Caspar David Friedrich’s Riesengebirgslandschaft cast its spell. I spent many hours before it.  

But more important to my visual education was something else. When I was seven — that was in 1944 and the war had made Berlin a rather unpleasant place with almost nightly bombing raids — my father decided that we had to leave; and he wanted us to be conquered by the Americans. So he found us a place in the Franconian Königshofen to await the end of the war. Outside that town is a small rococo pilgrimage church, Mariä Geburt. It made a deep impression. That church was the beginning of a life-long love affair with the Bavarian rococo. It was reinforced when we settled in Munich, and I loved hiking through the Isar valley to the abbey church in Schäftlarn. My fascination with the Bavarian rococo shows itself in an ink drawing I did of the interior of this church at the time. I must have been thirteen or so. It is among the few things of this period that I kept. Many years later this love led me to write The Bavarian Rococo Church: Between Faith and Aestheticism (1983), which I followed up with an expanded German version: Die Bayerische Rokokokirche. Das Irrationale und das Sakrale (2009). The Bavarian rococo church has shaped my thinking about art. 

When I was an undergraduate at Yale, my interests turned to history and philosophy, although I never stopped painting. A course in freehand drawing I took with Josef Albers — if I remember, Richard Lytle and Neil Welliver were the teaching assistants — taught me a great deal. So it is not surprising that soon after I began teaching here at Yale in 1961, I should have taught a course on modern art. The notes for that course evolved into my first book, The Meaning of Modern Art (1968).

But by that time drawing and painting had ceased to be a very important part of my life, no more than a pleasant diversion. Some of the results pleased me enough to give them to family members or hang in our house. Two of these, an orange view of the church in Avioth and a somewhat Feiningerish blue image of the start of a sailboat race, were stolen out of my office in Connecticut Hall, when I was chairman of the philosophy department. A dean suspected members of a Secret Society. It would be nice if on this occasion they were magically to reappear.     

I paint very little now, except when my wife Elizabeth Langhorne and I are in our place on Vieques. It seems almost prophetic that a tempera copy of a black-and-white photograph of a palm tree that I found — I was thirteen then — in a German edition of sea stories by Jack London, which in its caption mentioned Culebra, could almost be an image of a palm tree that we now see from our house, from which we can also see Culebra. The vast majority of the pictures shown here were done on Vieques, most in the past few years. They owe their existence to Elizabeth.  

While Elizabeth snorkels, I engage what is before me in a kind of conversation that is also a meditation. I make no attempt to faithfully capture what I see, but attempt to respond to it with something that in its way can stand up to what is before me.


Born in Jena, Germany, in 1937, Karsten Harries came to the US in 1951. Trained at Yale University, where he is the Howard H. Newman Professor of Philosophy, he has taught here since 1961, interrupted only by two years at the University of Texas in Austin and a number of years spent in Germany. 

The Gallery at the Whitney is open to the public MW 3:00 to 5:00 or by appointment at (203) 432-0670.


Visions of the Sacred
Puppets and Performing Arts of South and Southeast Asia
Curated by Kathy Foley

On view Thursday, April 3 through Friday, June 27

In South and Southeast Asia paintings, puppets, and theatre are often part of religious traditions that make the divine, in both its beneficent and its demonic forms, visible in the world. This selection of objects, collected over thirty years of research in South and Southeast Asian theatre, focuses on extremes of the peaceful and the terrible in manifestations of the sacred. In the tantric strains that suffuse Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic culture groups and thus the performing arts of the region, the good and the terrible forces may be complementary sides of the same energy. This two-fold power is otherworldly, but humans also participate in it, so that in dance or puppetry the same character may often have both peaceful and terrible forms.

The great stories—the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the tales of Lord Krishna (an avatar of the God Vishnu), AmirHamzah (the uncle of the Prophet Mohammed), and others—show the interactions of the divine and the human and how human heroes participate in divine energy.

Part of theatre’s job is to make such sacred insights accessible to all viewers, regardless of class.  Imagery from teyyam of Kerala, India, and Rangda-Barong mask theatre of Bali may be related to early cults with shamanic and chthonic roots.  In such genres, striking outfits and extreme make-up transform the human.  Performers can go into a trance and costume, make-up, and mask are crucial to this practice.  The aesthetic of trance genres influences puppet makers and actors who want to show the spirit energy in a way that may explain the impressive iconography and enlarged figures in the theatrical forms.

Tales may be presented in simple form by a single narrator/dancer or by a puppeteer using music, word, and dance, and the story helps ordinary people learn religious truths in a visceral way. The solo narrator/puppeteer/actor plays both the human and the divine characters and he/she reminds viewers that the microcosmic and macrocosmic forces are linked. Multi-person troupes may emerge, but often a narrator/singer continues to lead the story so that actors are like images or puppets moving under the narrator’s direction.

Sufi forms of Islam in India or Java may interpret related ideas in a more abstract and mystical way than the Hindu and/or Buddhist areas (India, Cambodia, Thailand, Bali) where the tales may be seen by some as literal happenings of the past—comparable to the way some Westerners view the Bible.

The pattern of displaying the extremes of divine and demonic in the visual and performing arts is shared across the South and Southeast Asian region. These theatres, while dealing with very realistic emotions and situations, place humanity in a continuum that extends beyond the human. In all these traditions, the belief is that once performers and their audience understand how they participate in and shape both the demonic and divine, their vision is expanded, and everyone will abjure the demonic and cleave to the beneficent cosmic energy.

Acknowledgements: Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Religious Studies, and Theatre Studies; University of California Santa Cruz Arts Research Institute and Committee on Research; Diana Daugherty, Phyllis Granoff, James Gunderson, Martin Jean, Dominika Laster, Marlene Pitkow, Michael Schuster and the East-West Center, Karen Smith, and Amy Trompetter.

At the Crossroads of Hope and Despair: America since the Crash
Photographs by Matthew Frye Jacobson

On view Wednesday, January 15 through Friday, March 28, 2014

“At the Crossroads of Hope and Despair” comprises images taken across the country from 2009 to 2013 that speak to the complexities of this moment. Drawn from nearly 4000 images now archived on the Historian’s Eye website, these materials convey the harsh realities of American life during the Great Recession, but they also capture diverse passions and expressions of civic engagement that are emblems of aspiration, futurity, and promise. Myriad closed businesses and abandoned storefronts constitute a public monument to widespread distress; omnipresent, expectant Obama iconography articulates a wish for new national narratives; flamboyant street theater and wry signage and graffiti bespeak a widespread impulse to talk back. Together these images reflect the somber beauty of a time that is perilous, but in which “hope” has not ceased to hold meaning.

Matthew Frye Jacobson is William Robertson Coe Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies. The author of numerous books, his teaching interests include race in U.S. political culture 1790–present, U.S. imperialism, immigration and migration, popular culture, and the juridical structures of U.S. citizenship.  

As well as the extensive archive of photographs, the Historian's Eye website features audio interviews and transcripts, video and other resources.
Please visit 

The Tenderness of Men in Suburbs: Photographs by Laura Wexler

On view Wednesday, September 25 through Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In the fall of 1968 I began a year-long project to photograph the Boston suburbs.
At that time, I was a Course XXI concentrator at MIT (Humanities) and I was also studying photography in
Minor White’s program.

It was a year of assassination, violence, and protest against the war in Vietnam and against the suppression of civil rights at home.
The photographs in this series are from Brookline and Newton, the places I grew up.
I was twenty years old.

Laura Wexler was educated at Sarah Lawrence College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University College, London, and Columbia University.  She is a historian of photography and author of many books and articles on U.S. visual culture.  She has taught at Columbia University, Amherst College, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, Peking University, and Yale University, where she is Professor of American Studies; Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies; and Director of the Photographic Memory Workshop.

Alexander Purves: Roman Sketches

On view Monday, January 28 through Friday, June 28, 2013

Drawing is a way of thinking. It depends upon that crucial connection of the eye, the mind, and the hand. It is a skill that must be exercised; otherwise it is lost.

For the past twelve years, together with Stephen Harby, Alexander Purves has led an intensive four-week drawing seminar in Rome for graduate students of the Yale School of Architecture. This course is guided by the conviction that an essential part of an architect's formation is direct experience of a range of buildings and places from all periods and styles and that this experience is best served by on-site hand drawing. According to Purves, "If you really want to see a building, you should draw it. Drawing forces you to look—and to look with precision and with a sense of inquiry." In a profession increasingly dependent on the computer as a tool for architectural design, drawing by hand remains for Purves and his students a critical mode of investigation and expression—its direct link to the imagination forming a necessary balance to the application of technology.

Sketchbooks are private journals and not intended for public viewing. They are filled with personal notations—thoughts and observations that one records for oneself. Thus, the Whitney Humanities Center is indeed privileged to offer these glimpses into Professor Purves's own drawing practice: "The sketches in this show have been taken from my own Roman sketchbooks, as from time to time I have grabbed a few minutes for myself. Consequently the drawings are very rapid. In my sketchbooks over many years, I have consistently used a ballpoint pen. It is very practical. The line doesn't smudge, nor does the ink take time to dry. I also recognize that my preoccupation with line was cultivated during a Yale undergraduate freehand drawing course taught by Josef Albers, who forbade the use of anything but the point of the pencil."

Professor Purves joined the Yale faculty in 1976.  Having coordinated and taught design studios at all levels in the School of Architecture, Purves, now professor emeritus, continues to teach his undergraduate “Introduction to Architecture,” a course open to any student in the University. For the last twelve years, he has also been leading an intensive drawing seminar in Rome for Yale graduate architecture students.  He has received awards for both teaching and design, including the School’s first annual King-Lui Wu Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Purves has lectured widely and been a visiting critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island School of Design, and Ohio State University.  He has also led many Yale educational travel programs, study tours that have included Italy, France, and the British Isles as well as Eastern Europe, the Turkish coast, Egypt, and Japan.

Solo exhibitions of Purves’s watercolors have been held at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York City in 2006 and 2010, and his work has been included in many group shows.  In 2002 his travel drawings were exhibited at the Hunter College Leubsdorf Gallery in an exhibition titled “On Site.”

As a practicing architect in New Haven, Purves has designed a number of projects for the Yale School of Medicine, including the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library.

Simonides: Photographs by Norman McBeath, Texts by Robert Crawford

On view Wednesday, August 29 through Friday, December 7, 2012

This exhibition encourages contemplation of how we remember the dead, especially those killed in battle. The texts are versions of epitaphs and poetic fragments by the ancient Greek poet Simonides. Said to have developed a special art of memory, Simonides is associated with atrocity, war, loss, and remembrance. He made epitaphs for people, including friends, killed in the Persian Wars. Two and a half millennia ago, the city-states of Greece fought in conflicts against the empire of the Persians, which included the territories now known as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.

Written in what many regard as a "dead language," the work of Simonides survives often in tiny fragments, drawing our attention to the fragile boundary between loss and remembrance. Poems such as Simonides's famous epitaph for the Spartan dead at Thermopylae seem set to last forever. Robert Crawford's versions of Simonides's epitaphs in the Scots tongue give the work a vernacular edge and bring out its pithiness, while heightening our sense of the loss of language, as well as the language of loss.

Though Norman McBeath's photographs are not of combative themes, they resonate subtly and tellingly alongside the Simonidean texts. The apparent timelessness of black-and-white photographs encourages a contemplation of loss and remembrance. Such contemplation is as awkward and necessary in the era of the so-called War on Terror as it was in the days of Simonides.

This project is one of several artistic commissions marking the 600th anniversary of the founding of Scotland's first university, the University of St Andrews. A larger version of the show was one of the highlights of the 2011 Edinburgh Art Festival. During 2012, the exhibition will tour several venues including Oxford, St Andrews, Glasgow, and Yale, where it is being shown in conjunction with the Franke Seminar "Contemporary Reception of Greek and Roman Classics," taught by Professor Emily Greenwood.

Shakespeare at Yale Rep

On view from Monday, January 23 through Friday, June 29, 2012

Since its founding in 1966, the Tony Award®–winning Yale Repertory Theatre has championed innovative stagings of classic dramas—a mission that complements its profound commitment to producing new plays. Drawing on a rich array of Yale Rep records housed in Yale Manuscripts and Archives, "Shakespeare at Yale Rep" features production photographs and posters that illuminate the theater’s rich history of staging Shakespeare’s dramas, from Alvin Epstein’s landmark productions in the 1970s to more recent re-imaginings by Bill Rauch and Mark Lamos. This exhibit, hosted by the Gallery at the Whitney Humanities Center, illustrates extraordinary work done at Yale by some of the American theater’s most accomplished artists, who for more than four decades have brought Shakespeare’s intricate, expansive plays to life for contemporary audiences.

Part of Shakespeare at Yale, a semester of special events celebrating the Bard.

Gertrude Bell in Mesopotamia: Archaeologist, Arabist, Diplomat, Spy

On view from September 26 through December 16, 2011

Gertrude Bell, along with her colleague T. E. Lawrence, was the best known, most accomplished, and most renowned European Arabist of the early twentieth century. The second woman to graduate from Oxford, she traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, learning Persian and Arabic, and training as an archaeologist. Shortly after the turn of the century, she led important archaeological expeditions to Syria and Iraq, subsequently writing highly regarded and popular accounts of these expeditions. During and immediately after World War I, Bell served as Britain’s Oriental Secretary of Iraq and was responsible for drawing the borders of the state of Iraq, engineering the accession to the throne of King Faisal, helping to quell the insurrection of 1920, and founding the Iraq Museum. Despite these accomplishments, Bell apparently committed suicide in Baghdad in 1926 at the age of 57.

Gertrude Bell in Mesopotamia gathers letters, maps, books, intelligence reports, and photographs (many by Bell herself) to document this extraordinary life. The exhibition is curated by Robert Myers, this year’s Franke Visiting Scholar at the Whitney Humanities Center, and Miriam Ayres of New York University. Mr. Myers is a distinguished playwright and professor of literature and creative writing at the American University of Beirut, where he has also served as Director of the Center for American Studies. Mr. Myers has designed this exhibition in conjunction with a staged reading of his play Mesopotamia, in performance October 21 and 22 at the Whitney Humanities Center auditorium. For more information, please see the World Performance Project at Yale site.

James Prosek: Suriname

On view from February 28 through June 24, 2011

This exhibit draws on field notes and watercolors James Prosek made in the former Dutch colony of Suriname in late March and April 2010, as a member of a biological research and collecting expedition sponsored by Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History. Part of the body of work consists of paintings that Prosek made in the field, between duties of collecting and skinning birds, oftentimes at night by headlamp. A separate body of work was made in his Connecticut studio, based on sketches, journals and photographs. In these works, the subjects are intentionally distorted (referencing anamorphic perspective) to show that whenever humans gaze at or try to define or represent nature it is inevitably a distortion. Actual specimens collected on the expedition are also on display, on loan from the Peabody. 

Prosek is concerned in both his painting and writing with themes of how and why we name and order the natural world. The collecting site in central Suriname, a previously unexplored and unnamed mountain area in one of the largest untouched tropical forests of the world, was the ideal test site for the artist’s inquiry.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of Whitney Humanities Center programming, the exhibition has been planned to complement this year’s undergraduate Shulman Seminar on the evolution of beauty taught by biologist  Richard Prum and philosopher Jonathan Gilmore.

Artist, writer, and naturalist James Prosek published his first book, Trout: An Illustrated History, featuring seventy of his watercolor paintings of the trout of North America, when he was a junior at Yale. He has shown his work in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad. His first solo museum show was at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 2008; upcoming shows are planned at the Contemporary Art Museum in Monaco and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Prosek has written for the New York Times and National Geographic and won a Peabody Award in 2003 for his documentary about traveling through England in the footsteps of Izaak Walton, the seventeenth-century author of The Compleat Angler. Having already published ten books, Prosek is currently working on a collection of paintings of Atlantic fishes for Rizzoli as well as an interdisciplinary project about naming nature. Prosek is a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale, and a member of the board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.

Prosek artical in the New Haven Magazine, April 2011

Prosek artical in Pakistan Daily Times Current & Breaking News, 2011

William Bailey Works on Paper: Temperas, Drawings, and Prints

On view from November 8, 2010 through January 28, 2011

The gallery at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street, will exhibit works on paper by renowned American artist William Bailey from November 8 through January 28, 2011. This exhibition of temperas, drawings and prints is on public view Mondays and Wednesdays, 3–5 p.m., or by appointment at (203) 432-0670

Bailey is an eminent American figurative painter whose signature still-lifes inhabit and project a timeless sense of order and calm. Often characterized as one of the country's leading realists, Bailey nonetheless eschews narrative, nostalgia, and even materiality in his work, which instead conveys distance and detachment. In poet Mark Strand's words, Bailey's artworks represent "realizations of an idea." Indeed, his arrangements of pots, pitchers, bowls, and eggcups, as well as his depictions of female figures, are painted entirely from memory or imagination. The subjects may well exist—but the viewer is compelled to reflect further on their dreamlike quality, their intentional abstraction.

A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Bailey studied with Josef Albers and earned his BFA and MFA at Yale. He is currently professor of art emeritus at Yale as well as a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a board member of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, and a trustee for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. His works appear in important collections nationwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.

Article in the Yale Daily Bulletin

Humanitas: Images of India by Fredric Roberts, Yale '65

On view from September 1 through October 23, 2010

The Gallery at the Whitney is pleased to announce the opening of Humanitas: Images of India. In these photographs, Fredric Roberts tells a story of beauty and grace, work and family, spirituality and devotion by focusing on ordinary lives and daily occurrences and ceremonies. In his portraits, the subject often looks directly at him and then to us, revealing the rapport Roberts establishes with his subjects, as well as their own sense of elegance and self-possession.

The photographs engage the viewer and challenge what we think we know. Through the interactions between the photographer and his subjects, we get a sense of the intercultural engagement Roberts emphasizes as he explores complex stories and relationships with his lens. Essentially, his photographs issue from, and continue as, open exchanges with people from diverse cultural backgrounds—his subjects as well as his audience.

From the beginning, this project was a conscious endeavor. "You have to spend time with people and genuinely care about them, in order to honestly photograph them," Roberts explains. "I found the camera to be a conduit that enhances my insight." Unlike many photographers working in India, who seek to interpret an "other" culture, Roberts found that he was more interested in a quest for beauty, which he sees as inherent in the photographic process.

Roberts's photographs strive to mediate between idealization and documentation.They document and honor his subjects while revealing the beauty, the humanitas, of everyday life.Through his photographs, Roberts asks us to imagine life beyond the photograph, sharing his experience through images of family, work, and devotion.

Invented Bodies: Shapely Constructs of the Early Modern

On view from March 22 through June 25, 2010

This exhibition explores the many ways that Europeans in the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries viewed the world, society, and themselves through “invented bodies” —vividly imagined forms that range from the perceptibly human to the decidedly fantastical. The exhibit engages four interrelated themes. Shaping the World looks at Early Modern maps that use anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, or floramorphic renderings to make sense of new discoveries beyond Europe. Figures of Architecture explores the anthropomorphic theories and images that come to particular prominence in Early Modern Italian and English architecture. (Re)Discovered Bodies focuses on the ways that Early Modern Europeans look at the people and places of the “New World” through the lens of Antiquity, deploying familiar classicizing forms as a means of understanding these newly discovered cultures and their origins, histories, and traditions. Finally, “States and Selves” examines the ways in which all these ideas and phenomena are brought to bear in the construction of the identity of the individual and the state; it reveals a merging of civic, personal, and cultural imagery that is both deeply specific and yet resonant throughout Early Modern Europe.

The works on view are facsimiles. The originals are held in the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Lewis Walpole Library, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Yale Map Department, Sterling Memorial Library. The exhibition takes advantage of the outstanding variety and depth of these collections and features printed and hand-colored maps, portraits, and frontispieces, illustrations from travel narratives, utopian imagery, and pages from architectural treatises in both print and manuscript form.

“Invented Bodies” is the second installation in a series of exhibitions curated by Mellon Special Collections Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow Mia Reinoso Genoni. The first, “The Utopian Impulse,” was on display in the Memorabilia Room of Sterling Memorial Library during the summer of 2009. The third exhibition, “By Draught or Design: England, Architecture, and Identity,” runs concurrently with “Invented Bodies,” on view at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library from April 12 to June 30, 2010. The final installment, to be launched this summer, is a virtual exhibition titled “Ideal, Real, and ‘New’ Worlds: Architecture, Utopia, and Empire in Early Modern England.” A description of the overall project and individual exhibitions can be found at  

These exhibitions were made possible by the generous funding of the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, and the dedication and cooperation of the Yale University Library Special Collections, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Whitney Humanities Center, with special thanks to Alice Prochaska, University Librarian.

Mia Reinoso Genoni received her MA and PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she held the Bernard Berenson Fellowship for Studies in Renaissance Art. She was recently awarded the Rare Book School Scholarship (University of Virginia) and the Scott Opler Grant for Emerging Professionals, Society of Architectural Historians. Her book The Invention of Renaissance Architecture: Filarete and the Architettonico Libro is forthcoming.

WHO KNEW? Paintings by Hazel Carby, Paul Fry, Richard Lalli, and John Loge

On view from October 28, 2009 through March 5, 2010

Paintings by Hazel Carby, Paul Fry, Richard Lalli, and John Loge the Gallery at the Whitney is pleased to host an art exhibit by distinguished Yale faculty known much more for their teaching and scholarship-or, in the case of Dean Loge, for his long service to Timothy Dwight College-than for their work in oils, acrylic, or watercolor. Each of the artists has a compelling vision, as visitors to the exhibit will readily see. Yet as different as their approaches are, the artists share an interest in light, color, frames of vision, and how we see nature, giving the exhibit the air of a lively conversation on these themes.

WHO KNEW? inaugurates what the Gallery at the Whitney hopes will be an ongoing occasional series of exhibits highlighting the unsung talents of Yale faculty.

Hazel Carby, Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies and Professor of American Studies, describes her painting as "a secret pleasure that has allowed me to dwell in the world of light and shade, contrast and texture to be found along the Connecticut shoreline and the pristine lakes and north woods of Vermont."

Paul Fry, William Lampson Professor of English, grew up inspired by his artist father and majored in both art and English as an undergraduate. He describes his current work from around his house in Nantucket as attempting "to record the disappearance of landscape into abstraction" and seeking "to represent every possible sense of the expression 'visual field,' not omitting the field one walks across."

Richard Lalli, Professor of Music (Adjunct), Artistic Director of the Yale Baroque Opera Project, and Master-designate of Jonathan Edwards College, is drawn to the rhythm of painting and the play of pure colors. His declared subject matter may be the interaction of colors, but he also confesses to "loving nature (wild and unlimited) juxtaposed with buildings (controlled and safe) as ideas to work from."

John Loge, for nineteen years Dean of Timothy Dwight College and longtime teacher of nature writing, took up painting at the encouragement of a friend. Of his work he says, "I try to capture my 'felt sense' of a place and its mysteries and secrets. My paintings are small because I feel the small size has a way of bringing the viewer into the landscape, which seems to happen to me as I paint."

The Making of Liberal Arts: Drawings from Yale's Summer Institute for Studio Studies and the Sundance Kid: Materials from the George Roy Hill Collection (Manuscripts and Archives)

On view from September 8, through October 25, 2009

The Whitney Humanities Center is pleased to announce a special exhibit and screenings to celebrate the work of Academy Award-winning director George Roy Hill (Yale College Class of 1943) and to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the world premiere in New Haven of his signature film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

From Tuesday, September 8, through Sunday, October 25, the Gallery at the Whitney will present "The Making of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Materials from the George Roy Hill Collection (Manuscripts and Archives)." This exhibit of storyboards, costume design, production stills, and other production material is drawn from the complete production record of the film, which George Roy Hill donated to Yale shortly after its completion. This exhibit has been made possible through the generosity of Paul Joskow (Yale '72 PhD) and the Yale Film Study Center, with support from Manuscripts and Archives (Yale University Library) and Hull's Art Supply and Framing. The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Paul Newman (1925-2008).

The celebration continues on Friday, October 23, with the fortieth-anniversary 35mm screening of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. With iconic performances by Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katharine Ross, and with William Goldman's Oscar-winning screenplay and Burt Bacharach's Oscar-winning score, the movie spoke vividly to its times and sparked an influential reimagining of the American western. This screening will be followed by remarks and a question and answer session with screenwriter William Goldman and associate producer Robert Crawford, moderated by Michael Kerbel, director of Yale's Film Study Center. The screening is at 7 pm in the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium; a reception will be held at 6 pm in Room 108.

On Saturday, October 24, at 1 pm, the Film Study Center, Films at the Whitney, and the Whitney Humanities Center will continue to explore the work of director George Roy Hill, first by screening the Emmy Award-winning The Making of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (directed by Robert Crawford) and The Making of Slaughterhouse-Five (co-directed by Crawford and Nicholas Doob), which features rare, on-screen interviews with author Kurt Vonnegut. Both documentaries give compelling insight into George Roy Hill's way with actors and the technical challenges of filmmaking. Robert Crawford, who has served as production assistant, associate producer, or producer on nine films directed by George Roy Hill, will introduce these films and take questions afterwards. The celebration of George Roy Hill's work will conclude Saturday evening with a 35mm screening of Slaughterhouse-Five at 7 pm, followed by a question and answer session with Robert Crawford and Michael Kerbel.

All screenings will take place in the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium.

GALA PREMIERE 1969 (click here)

Liberal Arts: Drawings from Yale's Summer Institute for Studio Studies

On view from July 7 through August 20, 2010

The Institute for Studio Studies, which convenes each summer for four weeks in the historic, hilltop village of Auvillar, France, focuses on the making of work that is conceived, articulated, and imaged through the primal disciplines of painting and drawing. The faculty, as practicing artists themselves, strongly believe that the study of these disciplines can serve as a conduit for the understanding of human endeavor in general.

Each summer the Institute incubates the individual studio interests of thirty Yale College students from such diverse fields as biochemistry, architecture, literature, history, and photography. With its “Studio Practice” course, the Institute provides rigorous training in an attitude of response, meaning: practice in how to observe, how to listen, and how to act effectively on what is seen, rather than written.

By learning to recognize in each work the seeds of the work that will follow and by developing the habit of prompt response, students develop a first-hand understanding of the strategies used in creative idea development and the tremendous ground that can be covered when these strategies are applied with rigor.

The participants’ initial dislocation—they are foreigners in a small town who are involved in a process that has no real end—is followed by a deeper relocation that is both physical and philosophical. Certainly, they produce outstanding work. But, for the purposes of this program, this excellent work is a happy accident. “Studio Practice” does not teach successful painting and drawing; it is a program that enables an experience of self-direction and a hands-on understanding of what the artist is confronted with while in the process of making work in the studio.

Robert Reed
Director, Institute for Studio Studies

That Commitment to Discovery: Paintings and Drawings by Richard Lytle

On view from February 11 through June 15, 2009

The Gallery at the Whitney is pleased to present That Commitment to Discovery, an exhibition of oils, watercolors, and charcoal drawings by renowned painter and teacher Richard Lytle. An explorer of both the natural world and the imagination, Lytle makes his discoveries through close observation, experimental juxtaposition, and creative reverie. His work is characterized by a mastery of line and color and presents a vision that calls for both finesse and boldness in its execution. With Lytle's interest in natural forms, processes of transformation, visual enigma, and pictorial vitality, That Commitment to Discovery is also the perfect visual complement to the many Darwin-related exhibitions and talks featured at Yale this spring.

Book Jacket Design from the Yale University Press

On view from November 5 through January 28, 2009

The Gallery at the Whitney is pleased to present an exhibition of outstanding book jacket design from Yale University Press. The designers for the Press have long been the recipients of numerous and prestigious awards. This exhibit is part of the Press's centenary celebrations and aims to honor its designers and excite viewers with the colorful, witty, and sometimes haunting beauty of these fine designs.

For information about other Press centenary events, see

Interaction of Color

On view from September 3 through October 29, 2008

One of the most influential artist-educators of the twentieth century, Josef Albers was a member of the Bauhaus during the 1920s and of the Yale faculty from 1950 to his death in 1976. In 1971 Albers was the first living artist ever to be given a solo retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The lithographs in this exhibit are illustrations from Albers's book Interaction of Color. Like the book, they are a record of an experimental way of studying and teaching color. They start from the recognition that, in visual perception, a color is almost never seen as it physically is but is, instead, highly dependent on form and placement and its interaction with other colors.
As Albers remarks, "Just as the knowledge of acoustics does not make one no color system by itself can develop one's sensitivity for color." What counts, for Albers, is vision—vision derived from experience, but "coupled with fantasy, with imagination."

The City: Paintings

On view from December 6, 2007, through March 5, 2008

LaPalombara, a landscape and still-life painter, is well known for her city scenes of New Haven , where she lives. Her artwork has been the subject of twenty-five one-person shows as well as of numerous group shows, and was chosen for publication in the book Artists Next Door: A Great City's Creative Spirit (ed. Cheever Tyler, 2006).
A graduate of Manhattanville College, she has her MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Ms. LaPalombara is the recipient of several grants and awards, including an Artists Fellowship from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and an Ingram Merrill Award in Painting. She is also a member of Connecticut Women Artists, the Connecticut Watercolor Society, and the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts.

Watercolors and Reflections on Architecture

On view from March 31 to June 16, 2008

In the course of his 2007 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Santiago Calatrava created an array of striking watercolor drawings to illustrate his architectural thinking and practice. These drawings, together with excerpts from his remarks, will be on exhibit at the Whitney Humanities Center from March 31 to June 16, 2008.
Mr. Calatrava is internationally renowned for his architectural and engineering designs. His distinguished work includes Sondica Airport, Bilbao (2000); the expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum (2001), Calatrava's first building in the United States; James Joyce Bridge, Dublin (2003); the Auditorio de Tenerife, Santa Cruz, Canary Islands (2003); the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Redding, California (2004); and Turning Torso Tower in Malmo, Sweden (2005); as well as a complex of buildings and plazas for Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences (2007). Mr. Calatrava has won numerous honors and prizes, including the 2000 Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts and the 2005 Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects.

Beyond Representation: Photographs of Japan, China, Israel, France, and Wallingford, CT

On view from March 8 through June 11, 2007

In the spring of 2007, the Gallery opened its first exhibit, "Beyond Representation: Photographs of Japan, China, Israel, France, and Wallingford, CT" by David Apter, a founding fellow of the Whitney. These photographs represented two different modes of seeing. Those from Japan and China were integral to Apter's field research as a political ethnographer. Those from Israel, France, and Wallingford, in contrast, captured casual sightings that nonetheless provoke response. In each case, for Apter, "visualizing through the lens suggests what research alone or the casual stroll might otherwise have obscured, ignored, or missed."