Discovering the “New World”: Maps & Sea Charts from the Age of Exploration

There is a time honored fascination with maps and sea charts. The new exhibition at the Bruce Museum is featuring maps to be admired… not for navigation!
This exhibition features more than thirty maps and charts dated between 1511 and the 1757. The maps — woodcuts or metal-plate engravings, many with original hand-applied color — represent Renaissance-period attempts by European ateliers to edify their clientele by revealing our “new” hemisphere and its approaches, as discoveries and claims came ashore from those daring enough to pack their sea bags and head for the unknown.

Today, we live in routine harmony, with cartography: on television and the Web; in newspapers, books and magazines. Satellite maps signify weather; detail maps illustrate locales of crucial events; GPS screens send us, often correctly, to new locales. On land, at sea, and in the air—digitized geography helps deliver goods and people everywhere, often without human intervention.

It was not always so. More than five hundred years ago, two European empires began daringly (and competitively) seeking the most efficient seaborne routes to the riches of Arabia and The Orient—Spain sailing west; Portugal sailing east. Mapmakers back home (nearly all landlubbers happy to sit by the fire) scrambled to gather the latest explorers’ reports to enable them to draw up-to-date maps, print them as separate sheets, and sell them largely to the wealthy as bound atlases—massive compendia that glorified leather-filled libraries and enriched cultural reputations.

But much of the news sent home was erroneous, owing to imperfect navigation, honest misreadings of reality, or deliberate misrepresentations. (As he wandered around the Caribbean Sea, for example, Columbus believed he had found India.) Altogether, these factors make historic “New World” maps a fascinating study in geographic and human progress—and occasional regression.

The Bruce Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm, Doors close 1/2 hour before closing, and the last admission is at 4:30 pm. For additional information call 203-869-0376 or visit https://brucemuseum.org.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Antarctic Photography Exhibition Opens at the Bruce Museum

A new exhibition is opening on October 28 at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich called Antarctic Photography: Selections from Gondwana: Images of an Ancient Land. This exhibition features a selection of large-format photographs by Diane Tuft, a New York-based mixed-media artist and photographer.

Wind Formation, Victoria Lower Glacier. Photograph by Diane Tuft
Wind Formation, Victoria Lower Glacier. Photograph by Diane Tuft

In 2012, Tuft traveled to Antarctica after receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Her images chronicle the extraordinary results of that expedition with stunning photographs that capture Antarctica’s raw, untouched splendor with colors, textures, and compositions that verge on the surreal.

The exhibition will also include a few specimens, on loan from Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, representing some of the amazing life forms recently found in the Antarctic waters.

Snow Folds, Scott Base Pressure Ridges Photograph by Diane Tuft
Snow Folds, Scott Base Pressure Ridges
Photograph by Diane Tuft

The selected images are highlights of Tuft’s 2014 book Gondwana: Images of an Ancient Land,named for the mega continent that once contained what is now Antarctica, and present her vision of the continent as a living abstract reflection of hundreds of millions of years of Earth’s history. This exhibition runs through February 1, 2015. For more information about the Bruce Museum visit https://brucemuseum.org. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm. Doors close 1/2 hour before closing, Last admission 4:30 pm . For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Diane Tuft

Diane Tuft is a New York-based mixed-media artist who has focused primarily on photography since 1998. She earned a degree in mathematics at the University of Connecticut before continuing her studies in art at Pratt Institute in New York. She has always been fascinated by the mystery of what exists beyond the visible; capturing this through her camera—often traveling to the world s most remote places to do so—has been a guiding principle of her work. Tuft has had solo exhibitions at Marlborough Gallery, Ameringer-Yohe Gallery, and Pace Gallery in New York City, as well as The Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. Tuft’s work can be found in the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art and The International Center of Photography in New York City, as well as numerous private collections and museums throughout the country.

Being, Nothingness and More: Roz Chast Beyond the New Yorker at the Bruce Museum

The Bruce Museum located on One Museum Dr. in Greenwich is presenting a new exhibiton of 30 works by the well known Roz Chast. A highlight of this exhibition will be examples of of Chast’s iconic work from The New Yorker magazine, as well as prints and drawings from other projects. Also on display will be tapestries and painted eggs in the pysanky tradition decorated with the artist’s signature images. The Show runs through October 19.

Roz Chast Painted Egg © Roz Chast
Roz Chast
Painted Egg
© Roz Chast

Roz was born in Flatbush Brooklyn and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her cartoons first began appearing in New York City in publications includingThe Village Voice.
Since the late 1970s, her work has been featured frequently in The New Yorker, and in 1986 her work was featured on the cover of that magazine for the first time. She has written or illustrated more than a dozen books, includingUnscientific Americans, Parallel Universes, Mondo Boxo, Proof of Life on Earth, The Four Elementsand The Party After You Left: Collected Cartoons 1995–2003 (Bloomsbury, 2004). In 2006,Theories of Everything: Selected Collected and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978–2006 was published, collecting most of her cartoons from The New Yorker and other periodicals.

Roz Chast Peas and Carrots Textile © Roz Chast
Roz Chast
Peas and Carrots
Textile
© Roz Chast

Her most recent book, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant (published in May), chronicles her relationship with her parents as they each approached the end of life.

The Bruce Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm, Doors close 1/2 hour before closing, and the last admission 4:30 pm. For more information about the Bruce Museum visit www.brucemuseum.org

Extreme Habitats: Into the Deep Sea at the Bruce Museum

Extreme Habitats: Into the Deep Sea at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich explores the vast and extraordinary deep sea. This show focuses on the highly adapted survival strategies utilized by creatures of the deep and the technology that enables researchers to record ground-breaking observations of what is often called the last frontier on this planet.

Sea butterfly (Thecosomata)  Photo by Larry Madin © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Sea butterfly (Thecosomata)
Photo by Larry Madin © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Museum visitors might feel like they are in a deep-sea submersible as they look through view ports to observe the mesopelagic – or twilight zone – of the sea with its bioluminescent inhabitants. The exhibit will show visitors the extremophiles that form the foundation of a hydrothermal vent as well as the bizarre appearances and adaptations of deep-sea species. One of the take aways from experiencing this exhibit is an understanding of the technology that makes deep-sea explorations possible.

Bloodbelly comb jelly (Lampocteis cruentiventer) almost 2000 meters  below the surface in Monterey Canyon.  Photo by MBARI ©2002 MBARI
Bloodbelly comb jelly (Lampocteis cruentiventer) almost 2000 meters
below the surface in Monterey Canyon.
Photo by MBARI ©2002 MBARI

The Bruce Museum has created highly accurate casts of deep-sea organisms such as the Pacific Viperfish, Cock-Eyed Squid, Bloodbelly Comb Jelly, Gulper Eel, Giant Tube Worms, and more, created from molds on loan from the American Museum of Natural History. Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History is lending preserved deep- sea specimens collected from various deep-sea explorations and dives around the globe. The University of Connecticut is assisting with interpretation of the New England seamounts, or underwater mountain ranges. Rare footage of creatures of the deep comes from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is sharing cutting edge information on the deep-sea submersible Alvin as well as their expertise on deep-sea ecosystems around the world.

_Display Background  Bruce Museum Exhibition Preparator Sean Murtha painting  hydrothermal vent display background.  Photo by Sean Murtha
_Display Background
Bruce Museum Exhibition Preparator Sean Murtha painting
hydrothermal vent display background.
Photo by Sean Murtha

The exhibition is the second in a series at the Bruce Museum looking at extreme biological, chemical and physical factors that affect different ecosystems around the world. Extreme Habitats: Into the Deep Sea opens runs through November 9.

And when you go, don’t forget your cell phone: This exhibition, like many others at the Bruce, will be accompanied by a compelling cell phone audio tour guide program, Guide by Cell, generously underwritten by Nat and Lucy Day. Easy to follow Guide by Cell instructions will be available at the front admissions desk.

About the Bruce Museum
The Bruce Museum is a museum of art and science and is located at One Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5
pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students up to 22 years, $6 for seniors and free for members and children less than five years. Individual admission is free on Tuesday. Free on-site parking is available and the Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376 or visit the website at www.brucemuseum.org.

Pasture to Pond: Connecticut Impressionism

Pasture to Pond: Connecticut Impressionism at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, runs through June 22, brings American Impressionism back to its roots, according to the Museum’s Executive Director, Peter C. Sutton.

Metcalf_Autumn  Willard Leroy Metcalf, (American, 1858-1925)
Metcalf_Autumn
Willard Leroy Metcalf, (American, 1858-1925)

“The history of art proves that Connecticut has long been one of the most fertile states for the creation of new art movements,” says Peter Sutton. “In no small measure it was the birthplace of American Impressionism.”

Drawn from the permanent collection of the Bruce, private collectors, area museums, and the trade, this exhibition of more than 25 works of American Impressionism speaks to the quality and beauty of this perennially popular art, and to Connecticut’s important role in its creation.

Before the turn of the 20th century, Connecticut was a logical birthplace for American Impressionism, as artists sought a nearby, rural respite from the burgeoning urban and rapidly industrializing world. While their artistic predecessors, the landscape painters of the Hudson River School, had championed dramatic landscapes of panoramic sweep and awe-inspiring majesty, the artists who came of age after the calamity and chaos of the Civil War sought a more intimate, bucolic and orderly landscape. They found these reassuring views among the farms, rolling hills, rivers and picturesque shoreline of Connecticut.

 Davis_Uplands  Charles H. Davis, (American, 1856-1933)
Davis_Uplands
Charles H. Davis, (American, 1856-1933)

While steeped in pre-Revolutionary history, Connecticut was readily accessible by train to these escaping urbanites, many of whom had winter studios in New York City. Artists’ colonies sprang up in Cos Cob and Old Lyme and landscapists took to recording favored sites in places like Branchville, Farmington, Mystic and the Litchfield Hills. The names of these artists – John H. Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, Childe Hassam, and Willard Metcalf – are among the most famous landscapists in American art history. While some, like Robinson, made regular pilgrimages to France to paint alongside the great French Impressionist Claude Monet, others learned the style second hand, and collectively they made it a uniquely American manner.

“Several of the artists featured in the show exhibited in the famous Armory Show in New York in 1913, which is generally regarded as the watershed moment that introduced Modern Art and the likes of Marcel Duchamp to America,” says Peter Sutton. “It is with pleasure then that we remember with this exhibition an era of enduring local creativity and the celebration of the beauty of our own special corner of New England.”

Pasture to Pond: Connecticut Impressionism is generously underwritten by People’s United Bank, a Committee of Honor co-chaired by Leora Levy and Alice Melly, a grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund.

_Crane_Harvest Moon  Bruce Crane, (American, 1857-1937)
_Crane_Harvest Moon
Bruce Crane, (American, 1857-1937)

And when you go, don’t forget your cell phone: This exhibition, like many others at the Bruce, will be accompanied by a compelling cell phone audio tour guide program, Guide by Cell, generously underwritten by Nat and Lucy Day. The Guide by Cell program for Pasture to Pond: Connecticut Impressionism will include a driving tour of sites in Greenwich that are featured in some of the paintings on view. Easy to follow Guide by Cell instructions will be available at the front admissions desk, and in the case of this exhibition will include a physical map for the driving tour.

About the Bruce Museum

The Bruce Museum of Art and Science is located at One Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students up to 22 years, $6 for seniors and free for members and children less than five years. Individual admission is free on Tuesday. Free on-site parking is available and the Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376 or visit the website at www.brucemuseum.org.

In the Dark at the Bruce Museum

The dark is a place of mystery. Sometimes scary, always intriguing, the darkness inspires the imagination and encourages exploration.

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Darkness is also a natural evolutionary selective pressure that has caused plants and animals to adapt to dark ecosystems like caves, the forest and desert at night, and underneath the ground.

In the Dark: Animal Survival Strategies, on view through April 13 at the Bruce Museum, located on One Museum Drive in Greenwich invites visitors to explore different environments of darkness and the unique life forms that inhabit them through a combination of hands-on and whole-body interactives, specimens and walk-through dioramas.

bruce museum

Since prehistoric times, humans have sought to understand the function of darkness and have invented ways to change it. With this immersive, entertaining and family-friendly exhibition that explores four environments – fragile caves, deep soil, and the forest and desert at night – people of all ages will discover how animals adapt to living in the dark and learn how we can help preserve fragile worlds without light.

March Programs

Look & See: In the Dark!
Wednesday, March 12; 12:30 – 1:15 pm
A program especially designed for children ages 3-5 years and their adult caregivers, who will explore the Museum’s exhibition through hands-on experiences, stories and more. Children will explore the exhibition and then make their own animal of the dark! $5 for members and $7 for non-members per child, per class. Parents/guardians are free. Please make reservations by calling the Museum at 203 869-0376.

Animals of the Dark Family Day
Sunday, March 30; 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Explore the exhibition to find out which animals survive best at nighttime! Make your own night-creature crafts in the workshop! At 2:00 pm and again at 4:00 pm, Live Night Creatures with animal specialist Rob Mies from the Organization for Bat Conservation, who will teach us all about some animals that live in the dark such as owls, bats and sloths. All activities are suitable for students of all abilities ages 5 years and up. Free with Museum admission.

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About the Bruce Museum: Explore Art and Science at the Bruce Museum, located at One Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students up to 22 years, $6 for seniors and free for members and children under 5 years. Individual admission is free on Tuesday. Free on-site parking is available and the Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376 or visit the website at http://www.brucemuseum.org.