New England Museum Association Names "Bunny Harvey: Four Decades" the Year's Best Exhibition Catalogue
In fall 2015, the Davis Museum celebrated the body of work created by esteemed artist Bunny Harvey, Elizabeth Christy Kopf Professor of Art, over the span of her 40 years as a professor of art at Wellesley. Now, the exhibition itself has been honored: Bunny Harvey: Four Decades, the exhibition catalogue for the show of the same name, was awarded the New England Museum Association's top prize in the exhibition catalogue category of its 2016 Publication Awards.
NEMA's Publication Awards recognize excellence in design, production, programming, and effective communication in both print and digital publishing. The Davis publication was one of 201 entries from 63 museums in 11 categories.
Exhibition catalogues serve as a reminder of the museum experience for exhibition visitors, or as a means of experiencing the exhibition in absentia. In addition to being artful in themselves, they can provide insight into the inspiration and process behind the art on view.
Bunny Harvey: Four Decades provides that insight through three contributor essays: "Close Listening" by composer Nico Muhly, Harvey's son; "In There With It," by author and former Wellesley art history professor Eugenia Parry; and "Bunny Harvey: Her Visionary Art," by William Cain, Mary Jewett Gaiser Professor of English at Wellesley.
The pictures and prose that follow the essays examine three prominent themes in Harvey's work. The "Dream Archeology" section explores her interpretation of the visible and invisible artifacts of lost civilizations. "Scientific Observation and Discovery" is inspired by Harvey’s studies of subatomic space and historical scientists. "The Natural World: discerned, absorbed, disrupted" provides an overview of how Harvey's love and fascination for the natural world permeates her work.
The catalogue represents not only the exhibition, but the talents of those who brought the exhibition and the publication to fruition. Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro '37 Director of the Davis, acknowledges many of those people in the catalogue's director's foreword. Among them, she thanks Meredith Fluke, Kemper Curator of Academic Programs, who curated the exhibition and edited its catalogue, as well as Stoltze Design, which "did a magnificent job in giving form to the words and pictures herein." Fluke, in her introduction, reiterates Fischman's thanks to Bunny Harvey, "for opening up her career, her process, and her life."
Wellesley congratulates all involved in the creation of Bunny Harvey: Four Decades for its first-place NEMA award. The catalog will be available for purchase at the Davis. The museum will reopen for the season following a "Davis ReDiscovered" celebration on September 28, at which the reinstallation of the Davis permanent collections will be unveiled.