Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
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Egyptian, early Second Century. Mummy Portrait of a Lady, (detail) ca. 100–150, stucco, glass, painted and gilded jewelry with polychrome. Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund and Helen Johnson Chase Fund. 2011.29.


detail of "St. Jerome in his Study," 1514, by Albrecht Durer, German, 1471-1528. Engraving. Bequest of David P. Becker, Class of 1970.


March 19, 2015 - June 07, 2015
Becker Gallery

Star photographs from the National Geographic Society-Palomar Sky Survey (1958) are shown alongside a series of recent drawings by Dorothea Rockburne inspired by her study of astronomy.
March 14, 2015 - April 26, 2015
Shaw Ruddock Gallery

This selection of works since the 1970s includes one of Rockburne’s most recent drawings, "The Mathematical Edges of Maine," a response to her travel to the state this past summer.
March 05, 2015 - June 07, 2015
Bernard and Barbro Osher Gallery

The first exhibition to feature arts related to space travel, futurism, and science fiction from across the American hemisphere.

Museum News

Mathematics and Art Merge in New BCMA Exhibit

The deeply saturated and highly energetic colors of Dorothea Rockburne’s paintings and drawings seem to send vibrations through the gallery. At the end of a long grey winter, The Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne is a great place to recharge.

Read more »


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Upcoming Events

Gabriel Perez-Barreiro: "'Latitude 0'08791': Latin American Artists and Science Fiction"

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March 26, 20154:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Gabriel Perez-Barreiro delivers a keynote lecture exploring the ways in which various artists from Latin America used science and space travel as metaphors for expressing present day realities and imagined futures.

Perez-Barreiro is Director of the Coleccin Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York. From 2002 to 2008 he was Curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, he was chief curator of the Sixth Mercosur Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil. From 2000 to 2002 he was Director of Visual Arts at The Americas Society, New York. Prior to that he was Exhibitions and Programs Coordinator at the Casa de America, Madrid. From 1993 to 1998 he was the founding curator of the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art. He holds a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex.

Join us for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art Spring Open House immediately following the lecture at 5:30pm.

RSVPs are requested but not required. You many RSVP here: https://latitude008791.eventbrite.com or contact Christine Piontek at artmuseumevents@bowdoin.edu.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas

Note: This talk will also be streamed on Bowdoin's Live Webcasts page.

Photo: Gabriel Perez Barreiro

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Spring Open House at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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March 26, 20155:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

Celebrate spring and the new exhibits at the Museum of Art, including the groundbreaking Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas, running March 5 through June 7, 2015. 

The exhibition explores the impact of the 'Space Race', science fiction, and the explosive growth of Cold War-era technological innovation on avant-garde artists of the Americas from the 1940s to the 1970s, and features over 80 works in a range of media and creative styles from expressionist paintings and kinetic sculptures to graphite drawings and conceptual pieces. 

Free and open to the public.

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Film Screening and Panel Discussion: "Nostalgia for the Light"

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March 31, 20157:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

In this enthralling and award-winning documentary, Chilean master director Patricio Guzman travels 10,000 feet above sea level to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. The sky is so translucent that it allows them to see right to the boundaries of the universe. 

But the Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact: Pre-Columbian mummies; nineteenth-century explorers and miners; and political prisoners, disappeared by the Chilean army after the military coup of September 1973. While astronomers examine the most distant and oldest galaxies, women at the foot of the mountains search, even after twenty-five years, for the remains of their loved ones, whose bodies were dumped here, to reclaim their families' histories. 

Melding the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the women, Nostalgia for the Light is a moving and deeply personal odyssey.    

Followed by a panel discussion with Allen Wells, Roger Howell, Jr. professor of history; Sarah Childress, visiting assistant professor of cinema studies; and Sarah Montross, Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral curatorial fellow. 

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas

RSVPs are requested but not required. You may RSVP at: https://nostalgiaforthelight.eventbrite.com or contact Christine Piontek at artmuseumevents@bowdoin.edu.

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Members' Event: "Curators' Perspectives: Bowdoin's Historic Collection in New Installations"

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April 2, 20157:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

Museum members are invited to join Laura Sprague, consulting curator, decorative arts; Andrea Rosen, curatorial assistant; and Joachim Homann, curator, for a discussion and tour of the new installations of art from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Find out how James Bowdoin's legacy continues to shape the Museum.

RSVPs are requested but not required. You may RSVP here: https://curatorsperspectives.eventbrite.com or email artmuseumevents@bowdoin.edu.

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Gallery Conversation: "Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas"

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April 8, 20154:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

Arielle Saiber, associate professor, romance languages and Sarah Montross, Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral curatorial fellow discuss various aspects of the exhibition, Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas.

Free and open to the public.

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"The Twenty-First Century Museum: Challenges and Opportunities"

April 9, 20154:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Ford W. Bell, President of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), will speak on the state and role of museums in contemporary American society. He will also reflect upon his experiences and observations as the leader of AAM.

RSVPs are requested but not required.  You may RSVP here: https://21centurymuseum.eventbrite.com or email artmuseumevents@bowdoin.edu.

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Thursday Night Salon: "Snapshots of Dust and Time: Astronomy and Visual Art"

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April 16, 20157:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

Elise Weaver of the Bowdoin Department of Physics and Astronomy, leads an interdisciplinary discussion about representations of the cosmos in astrophotography and other visual media.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibitions Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas and Star Charts and Celestial Scenes from Bowdoin Collections.

Free and open to the public.

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Family Saturday at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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April 18, 201510:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

Bowdoin College students organize and present Family Saturday, with activities related to the exhibitions on view. Enjoy interactive learning and fun at the Museum!

Free and open to the public.

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Debra Diamond: "The Visual Culture of Yoga"

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April 19, 20152:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom

The visual culture of yoga, an emerging field of academic inquiry, offers new insights into yoga histories that are popularly considered to be monolithic and timeless. 

Debra Diamond, curator of the 2013-4 exhibition "Yoga: The Art of Transformation," discusses one aspect of yoga, asana (posture), as it moves across time, across visual media from sculpture to film, and across Hindu, Sufi and early modern arenas of practice.

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Dorothea Rockburne, Santagata Lecture: "Materializing Mathematical Concepts into Visual Art"

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April 20, 20157:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

When Dorothea Rockburne first began making her paintings and works on paper in the 1950s, she never thought that her pieces would be viewed in an exhibition context, both because she was a woman, and because her mathematics-inspired paintings didn't fit neatly into Abstract Expressionism or subsequently Minimalism. Consequently, she believed she would never be able to show her work. Her assumptions, of course, proved to be false. 


Rockburne not only exhibited, but she did so widely. When the big museums and galleries first started showing female artists in the late 1960s, they were looking for formed work; she was there right at the beginning of the feminist art movement. Since then and throughout her artistic career, Rockburne has created shapes that reflect her profound understanding of mathematical theory. Learning from the legendary mathematician Max Dehn as a student at Black Mountain College, and nurtured by friendships with experimental artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage, she found compelling ways to apply the creativity of mathematics to painting. 

Rockburne was born in Canada and received her initial training in Montreal. She holds a doctorate of fine arts and is a long-time member of the New York art scene. A traveling retrospective, Dorothea Rockburne: In My Mind's Eye, was organized by the Parrish Museum, Southampton, New York in 2011. According to Frieze magazine, it "reaffirmed Rockburne's claim to a central position in the American avant-garde." When the Museum of Modern Art in New York dedicated an exhibition to her work in the winter of 2013-2014, a New York Times reviewer commented, "Ms. Rockburne's work can be as physical as it is heady, turning math into a kind of dance or a form of Process Art." 

Sponsored by the Kenneth V. Santagata Memorial Fund

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Gallery Conversation: "Art, Mathematics, and the Legacy of Black Mountain College"

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April 21, 20154:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Museum of Art, Pavilion

Dorothea Rockburne, artist, and Dave Peifer, chair and professor, University of North Carolina-Asheville, discuss the mathematical theories behind Rockburne's artistic work. They further explain how her art reflects the interdisciplinary education provided by the legendary Black Mountain College, where Rockburne studied with the theoretical mathematician Max Dehn (1878-1952). Peifer is a member of the Board of Directors of the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition, A Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne.

Free and open to the public.

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