Current Exhibitions:

150 Ways to Say Cornell

Hirshland Exhibition Gallery

150 Ways to Say Cornell

October 17, 2014 - September 30, 2015

On April 27, 1865, New York State Governor Reuben E. Fenton, in his chambers in the old State Capitol in Albany, signed the bill that constitutes the charter of Cornell University. The ideals of the founders, Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, reflected in this Charter, were remarkable in their day and constituted a truly radical educational experiment for the 1860s. This exhibit, part of Cornell's celebration of the Sesquicentennial, will provide a lively tour through Cornell's inspiring history through original documents, photographs, and artifacts.

Def Jam at 30


Def Jam at 30: The Declarations of an Independent - 1984-1985

2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Def Jam Recordings. Now a long-established American brand, hailed as “the New York Yankees of hip-hop,” Def Jam has consistently fielded a Hall of Fame roster of artists. In the Eighties, that roster included LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and 3rd Bass. In the Nineties, it included Method Man, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Ludacris, and DMX. In the 21st Century, it includes Kanye West, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and Rihanna. Thirty years later, the label’s still going strong.

In celebration of this anniversary, the Cornell University Hip Hop Collection offers this look at 1984-85: Def Jam’s ground-breaking first year, told through rare and unique items from Bill Adler’s Hip Hop Archive.

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.

Prescriptions for Urban Ailments


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

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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