Washington Elm Exhibit with Bruce Myren: public reception

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Washington Elm Exhibit
Featuring photographs from
Bruce Myren's Fate of the Elms series

Public Reception: Thursday, November 13, 6-8 pm

Attendees are authorized to park in Cambridge Permit parking spots on Brattle Street between Sparks and Fayerweather, one night only.

Exhibit Hours:
Saturday, November 8, 11-3 and
Saturday, November 22, 11-3.

**Additional hours will be announced**

Hooper-Lee-Nichols House
159 Brattle Street, Cambridge

The Cambridge Historical Society, working with artist Bruce Myren, will mount an exhibit featuring historic representations of the Elm, pieces of the tree, collectibles made from the Elm’s wood, and Myren's large-format photos of scions, cuttings grown to create clones of the original tree.

In the early nineteenth century, George Washington mania swept the country. His image was printed on everything from axes to garter belts. Cambridge, where Washington took control of the Continental Army, was featured prominently, and the Washington Elm gained an exalted place. Images of the Elm appeared on teacups, on stationery, and in paintings, while scions were planted by the hundreds across the country.

When the tree fell in 1923, it was cut into pieces, with cross sections going to the capitals of the forty-eight states, the White House, and the Capitol, and blocks going to prominent citizens across the country.

Myren quotes the English philosopher Bernard Williams when describing the show: "A myth is a fanciful picture of the past designed to justify certain activities in the present."

Bruce Myren
Currently, Myren is an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University College of Art and Design and Lecturer at Northeastern University; recently, he was a Visiting Lecturer of Art at Amherst College and Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is the Chair of the Northeast Region of the Society for Photographic Education and sits on the board of directors of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University.

In his work, Myren investigates issues of place and space, often via the exploration and employment of locative systems, either literal or metaphoric. Myren's recent series include an investigation of the Fortieth Parallel of latitude; a piece that documents the view from every place he has lived to where he lives now; and a study of the poet Robert Francis’s one-person house in the woods of Amherst, MA.

For previews from the Fate of the Elm series, visit www.brucemyren.com.

This exhibit is supported by grants from the Cambridge Arts Council and the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.


The image above is from the Cambridge Historical Society's postcard collection.