Nancy Austin and The RI Art Association & Ecology in Culture in Pre-Civil War RI
The Providence Athenaeum’s Philbrick Rare Book Room is currently exhibiting a show(September 1-23), guest-curated by historian Nancy Austin featuring a recently rediscovered 1860-era panoramic photograph of the Coliseum and accompanying works. The 5-foot-wide photograph was taken by architectural photographer Tommaso Cuccioni and given to the Athenaeum in 1860 by art critic Albert Jenkins Jones (1821-1887); it hung for decades on the library’s main floor. A bequest left by Jenkins Jones played an important role in determining the cultural landscape of late 19th century Providence and the establishment of the RISD Museum.
The exhibit also includes items from the Athenaeum, Brown University, RISD, the Redwood Athenaeum, and Austin’s collection. Ms. Austin will offer informal talks on the exhibit on 9/3, 9/8, and 9/23, from noon to 1pm. On Gallery Night, Thurs 9/16, the exhibit will be open from 5 to 7pm; at 6:30 Austin will discuss the exhibit, and at 7 lead a one-hour walking tour highlighting Providence’s early art world.
Austin is one of the contributors to “Infinite Radius”, the 2009 publication about RISD’s founding and early years, edited by Dawn Barrett, Dean, Architecture + Design and Andrew Martinez, Archivist. She has taught design history and studio courses for the Industrial Design Department and was the recipient of a 2008/09 Professional Development Fund award for research into the early life of Helena Rowe Metcalf, founding mother of RISD.