Bowdoin College Museum of Art
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Exhibitions
"SEFT-1 over Metlac bridge, January 25, 2011," by Ivan Puig (Mexican, born 1977) and Andrés Padilla Domene (Mexican, born 1986). Courtesy of SEFT-1.
Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas
March 5, 2015 - June 7, 2015
Bernard and Barbro Osher Gallery
Halford Gallery
Focus Gallery
Center Gallery

Also visit the interactive website Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas.

This groundbreaking 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. Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas features over 80 works in a range of media and creative styles—from expressionist paintings and kinetic sculptures to graphite drawings and conceptual pieces. With loans from public and private collections from North and South America, the exhibition investigates how artists from the United States and several Latin American countries interpreted notions of conquest, discovery, and crossing into new territories—both terrestrial and celestial.

The art featured in Past Futures is presented against the backdrop of the Cold War, as the United States called for pan-Americanist economic and political policies that emphasized stronger North and South American solidarity against the spread of Communism. Simultaneously, the rise of the Space Race gripped international attention, and the science fiction genre flourished in film and literature cultures across the Americas. The exhibition investigates how artists from the United States and several Latin American countries, including Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, navigated these complex political and cultural shifts and showcases their creative reactions to the emergence of new technologies, such as robotics, rocketry, and computer systems. The exhibition is curated by Sarah J. Montross, Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral curatorial fellow.

Cover of Past Futures exhibition catalogue

A fully-illustrated exhibition catalogue co-published with The MIT Press is available for purchase at the Museum Shop and through the on-line Bowdoin Store.

Programming

March 4, 2015 | 5:30 p.m. | BCMA
Members’ Preview: Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas
 
Sarah Montross, Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral curatorial fellow and curator of the groundbreaking exhibition, Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas, will provide a preview tour of the exhibition exclusively for Museum members. Refreshments will be served following the tour. RSVPs are requested, but not required.
 
 
March 5, 2015| 6:30 p.m. | BCMA
Music at the Museum: “Sebastian Bach to 2001: A Space Odyssey
 
George Lopez, Beckwith Artist-in-Residence, presents an evening of “Futurist music” and close encounters with the “alien” in the history of musical evolution. Presented in conjunction with Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas. This event is free but tickets are required as seating is limited. Free tickets are required as seating is limited. Tickets available at the Museum Shop beginning January 19, 2015.


March 26, 2015 | 4:30 p.m. | Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center
Latitude 0’08791: Latin American Artists and Science Fiction”
 
This keynote lecture by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Ph.D., director of the Cisneros Foundation, will explore the ways in which various artists from Latin America used science and space travel as metaphors for expressing present day realities and imagined futures. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas. RSVPs are requested, but not required.
 
 
March 26, 2015 | 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. | BCMA
Spring Open House at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
 
Celebrate spring and new exhibitions at the Museum of Art, especially Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas.

March 31, 2015 | 7:00 p.m. | Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center
Film Screening: “Nostalgia for the Light
 
In this enthralling and award-winning documentary, Chilean master director Patricio Guzmán explores how astronomical observations of distant galaxies, the deep past of pre-Columbian archaeology, and the remnants of Chile’s painful political history converge in the Atacama desert, the world’s driest region. Followed by a 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. RSVPs are requested, but not required.
 
April 8, 2015 | 4:30 p.m. | BCMA
Gallery Conversation: Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas
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.

April 30, 2015 | 4:30–6:30 p.m | Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center
Artist's Lecture by Saya Woolfalk
New York-based artist Saya Woolfalk will deliver an artist's talk in connection with the exhibition "Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas."

"SEFT-1 over Metlac bridge, January 25, 2011," by Ivan Puig (Mexican, born 1977) and Andrés Padilla Domene (Mexican, born 1986). Courtesy of SEFT-1.
"Maqueta D-Hábitat. La ciudad hidroespacial (Model D- Habitat. Hydrospatial City)," 1950,  Plexiglas and metal by Gyula Kosice (Argentine, born in Hungary, 1924. Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the Artist, 2007. © Gyula Kosice

"Fra Mauro Region of the Moon, 1972," by Nancy Graves. From the series "Lithographs Based on Geologic Maps of Lunar Orbiter and Apollo Landing Sites." Lithograph. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Gift of Anne MacDougall and Gil Einstein in honor of Marjorie B. Cohn.   © Nancy Graves Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
"Astronauta y testigos, televisados (Astronaut and witnesses, televised)," 1971, oil on canvas by Raquel Forner (Argentine, 1902–1988). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin; Gift of Barbara Duncan, 1973