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Oscar Palacio, Posted Sign on Tree, Walden Pond, MA, 2013.

Oscar Palacio, Posted Sign on Tree, Walden Pond, MA, 2013. Inkjet Print, 32” x 40”.

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On View Oct 31, 2014 - Apr 26, 2015

Walden, revisited features works by contemporary artists inspired by Walden–the pond; the book published in 1854 by natural history philosopher, social critic, and early environmentalist Henry David Thoreau; and the connection and disconnection between the two. In 1845, Thoreau (1817–1862) embarked on a now-legendary two-year, two-month, and two-day venture into the Concord woods to write and live “Spartan-like.” He immortalized his experiment in Walden; or Life in the Woods, which extols the virtues of a life simplified to “only the essential facts,” spent in a self-built, one-room cabin near the shores of Walden Pond.

Today, 160 years after its first publication, Walden is firmly ensconced in the canon of great American literature. It remains the foundational text for American nature writing, and its message of living simply, economically, and intentionally has resonated throughout subsequent generations. In the wake of the Great Recession and the growing urgency of climate change, Walden emerges again as a home-grown American handbook dedicated to self-reliance and a life lived with, not against, nature.

These same topics loom large as contemporary artists rethink their relationship to society, the environment, and the role of art within culture. Walden, revisited brings fifteen artists to deCordova, the pond’s neighbor, to contemplate and review the less explored legacies of this great American memoir through and in contemporary art practices.

Walden, revisited features sculpture, installation, performance, painting, drawing, and video, alongside new commissions. Artists include James Benning, David Brooks, William Cordova, Spencer Finch, Futurefarmers, William Lamson, Ana María Gómez López and Pamela Jordan, Jane D. Marsching, Michael Mercil, Oscar Palacio, Gina Siepel, Lisa Sigal, Jennifer Sullivan, Deb Todd Wheeler, and Hilary Wilder.

This exhibition has been supported in part by the generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Nathaniel Saltonstall Arts Fund, and the Artist's Resource Trust. Additional support for this exhibition has been provided in part by an anonymous donor and Joyce Linde.

 

 

Walden, revisited features sculpture, installation, performance, painting, drawing, and video, alongside new commissions. Artists include James Benning, David Brooks, William Cordova, Spencer Finch, Futurefarmers, William Lamson, Ana María Gómez López and Pamela Jordan, Jane D. Marsching, Michael Mercil, Oscar Palacio, Gina Siepel, Lisa Sigal, Jennifer Sullivan, Deb Todd Wheeler, and Hilary Wilder.

Walking Adventures: Walden Pond
November 2 and 9

Join Walden, revisited exhibiting artists on walking tours of Walden Pond!
 

November 6
Members: join Thoreau scholar Jeffrey S. Cramer, and deCordova Curator, Dina Deitsch, for a discussion of Walden, revisited.

Pondering Walden: discussion series
November 20, December 11, January 15

Consider Walden, revisited in connection with its natural and literary inspirations.

Curator Tour
December 3 and April 1

Tour the exhibition Walden, revisited with the experts!

Neo-Thoreauvian Speaker Series: Experiments in Living

January 22, February 28, March 26
Explore the impact of Thoreau’s Walden today as authors and practitioners speak about their own temporary experiments in living.

Performance: Thoreau's Desk (requires some assembly)
January 31

Inspired by Walden, artist Michael Mercil's musical composition Thoreau’s Desk (requires some assembly) is performed by a percussion trio, using tools to create an abstract representation of Thoreau’s writing desk.

John Cage, Thoreau, and deCordova: in conversation

February 11
Art historian Francine Koslow Miller discusses the impact Thoreau had on composer John Cage's work.