Current Exhibitions:

Surrealism and Magic

Johnson Museum of Art

Surrealism and Magic

August 30 – December 21, 2014

Prepare to be initiated into the magical secrets of surrealism! With its genesis in the occult library of artist Kurt Seligmann, the acknowledged magic expert of the surrealist group, this exhibition examines the surrealists’ interests in magic, the supernatural, and indigenous spirituality as expressed in their art and writings. By illuminating this less-studied aspect of their practice, Surrealism and Magic considers how both historical sources and world events drove surrealist artists to seek a magical presence in their lives.

Along with rare books on magic and witchcraft from Seligmann’s library on the occult (added to Cornell’s unrivaled Witchcraft Collection in 1962), the exhibition includes works of art by Seligmann, other surrealists, and artists in their circle. Books, pamphlets, correspondence, ephemera, and film contextualize the concept of magic, trace surrealism’s changing presence both in Paris and the Americas, and reveal the surrealists’ interest in the American landscape, Native North American art, Haitian vodou, and Cuban santería. We invite you to accompany the surrealists in their exploration of these new worlds, and their purposeful blurring of the boundary between the real and the imaginary, whether in the covered passages of Paris, the slums of Port-au-Prince, the art galleries of New York, or the red desert of Arizona.

Speaking of Sex

Hirshland Exhibition Gallery, Carl A. Kroch Library

Speaking of Sex

February 14 – October 11, 2014

Cornell University Library’s new exhibition, Speaking of Sex, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Human Sexuality Collection.

A quarter of a century ago, the Library began to gather rare books, letters, photographs and original artwork, films, erotica, and all sorts of ephemera related to sexuality — much of which was ignored or shunned by academia and society at large. By focusing on marginalized and contested areas of sexuality, the collection encourages us to think about sex from many angles and is a vital resource to the field of sexuality studies that has developed during this time.

The exhibition showcases words and concepts that our objects allow researchers to consider more deeply, like perform, desire, trans, deviant, commercialization. It includes items from the original 1988 Mariposa archives gift through very recent acquisitions. Come see a 1730 Dutch wanted poster for sodomites, an historic vibrator, and photographs of recent protests in India. The exhibition runs from Valentine’s Day to National Coming Out Day.

Prescriptions for Urban Ailments


Prescriptions for Urban Ailments: Planning Solutions of the 1920s-1940s

April 20 - June 30, 2014

From the roaring twenties to the New Deal era, planners, civic leaders, and other reformers diagnosed urban ailments and prescribed new interventions to treat them. The young profession of city planning pointed to the debilitating effects of congestion and sprawl, as large metropolitan areas grew up and out. The negative aspects of automobiles were already becoming noticeable in urban areas. Planning as a profession evolved alongside a growing demand for improvements to urban mobility, safety, and parking.

This exhibition explores these planning approaches through items drawn from the architecture and city planning collections in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections of the Cornell University Library.

Exhibition organized by Jennifer Minner, Assistant Professor and Liz Muller, Assistant Director and Curator of Media and Digital Collections, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. Exhibition co-sponsored by the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

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