Thursday, March 1, 2012

“Mary, Marie” at the Whitney Biennial

Moyra Davey has a new series of pieces on Mary Wollstonecraft, this time at the Whitney Biennial, which opens today until 27 May. It's handily just down the road (well, 30 Manhattan blocks) from Shelley's Ghost, newly resettled from its previous home at the Bodleian, an exhibition to which she refers in an interview with Daniel Merritt of The Eye:
For the works for the biennial, I went to the Pforzheimer Collection at the New York Public Library. It’s a fantastic collection. There’s a show there called “Shelley and His Circle,” so I was photographing letters that Mary Shelley and her sisters had written and first editions of Mary Wollstonecraft’s books and wonderful stuff like that. The photographs at the Whitney are almost all photos I took from there.
The Biennial piece is described by Carmen Winant on the New York Public Radio website thus: 
Moyra Davey's "Mary, Marie" (2011) is art about the artifacts of correspondence. The piece is made up of 12 unfolded chromogenic prints pinned to the wall, which were taped, addressed, stamped and sent through the USPS to the artist's sister, mother and nieces. The "letters" are themselves photographs, each a close-up image made of a series of letters written by women's rights activist Mary Wollstonecraft, who is the mother of the author of "Frankenstein," Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The images show the tears, creases, nicks and scars from their snail mail journey, and each serves as a visual map of its own unique voyage. Davey is an artist who has long explored the fragments and markers of time: she collects diaries, old newspapers, and empty liquor bottles for her work. With "Mary, Marie," Davey captures a sense of time slowly and quietly moving forward through modes of personal communication.
There are 51 artists displaying their works, and only five get the NYPR nod as "what to see".

Moyra Davey has another current work on Mary: a video entitled Les Goddesses, briefly covered here, previously in London, soon to open in Glasgow. She has promised us an entry for a new series here on Mary and Me, how artists and academics have had their lives and work touched by the foremother of feminism. 

Photo of the Whitney by Gryffindor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( 
or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

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