The portraits featured in this exhibit are drawn from a larger series of photographs by Tanya Marcuse (MFA '90). The project was commissioned by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in honor of the university-wide 50 Women at Yale 150 celebration, which aims "to showcase the depth of women's contributions to Yale and to the world, to celebrate women at the university, and to inspire thoughtful conversation about the future of women at Yale and in the larger society."
This online exhibit was created to complement the unique installation in the Sterling Library Memorabilia Room. The photographs are presented together with contact sheets and other traces of Marcuse's creative process. Exhibit text and images work together to illuminate Marcuse's process as well as the interpretive nature of the portrait.
Curated by Julia Carabatsos '20
Edith Wharton (1862–1937) is best known today for her fiction, such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Age of Innocence (1920). Yet she also had a keen interest in architecture and interior design. Her first full-length publication was an interior design treatise titled The Decoration of Houses (1897) and she directed the design of many of her homes throughout her life. Edith Wharton: Designing the Drawing Room brings together both aspects of Wharton’s career. It explores the rules she defined in The Decoration of Houses and their application in her own homes, alongside her attention to design details in the handwritten manuscript of The Age of Innocence. This exhibit focuses on Wharton’s treatment of the drawing room, which provides a particularly rich context for understanding Wharton’s elite New York City society at the turn of the twentieth century and the role of women within it.
Edith Wharton: Designing the Drawing Room was curated by Julia for the 2020 Senior Exhibit project. She was advised by Professor Edward Cooke, Jr., Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts in the Department of the History of Art, and Tess Colwell, Arts Librarian for Research Services at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library.
[link will be provided shortly]
Curated by: Tanya Marcuse '90 MFA and George Miles, Curator, Western American Collection, Beinecke Library
The portraits featured in this exhibit are drawn from a larger series of photographs by Tanya Marcuse (MFA ’90). The project was commissioned by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in honor of the university-wide 50 Women at Yale 150 celebration, which aims “to showcase the depth of women’s contributions to Yale and to the world, to celebrate women at the university, and to inspire thoughtful conversation about the future of women at Yale and in the larger society.”
In this unique installation in the Sterling Library Memorabilia Room, the photographs are presented together with contact sheets and other traces of Marcuse's creative process. Exhibit text and images work together to illuminate Marcuse's process as well as the interpretive nature of the portrait.
Of the Yale University Library project, Marcuse writes: "In my photographs, I harness many of the conventions and expressive powers of formal painted portraits to honor female subjects in commemoration of the 50th/150th anniversary of co-education at Yale. All of the women in the photographs are affiliated with Yale, whether as students, faculty, staff, or administrators, and though Yale women live all over the world, all these portraits were all taken in New Haven.
"That all of these women are affiliated with Yale is at once the purpose of the project and at the same time secondary: a portrait is, first and foremost, about an individual. The photograph is not the person, but a description and interpretation of the encounter between the person in the photograph and the photographer behind the camera. The quiet event of the photograph, however fixed and formal, is still a fragmentary glimpse. The encounter can include both trust and doubt, comfort and discomfort. These tensions are what make a portrait feel psychologically alive, what allows the photograph to explore and describe the complex interiority of the person. I intend this attention and the description of these individuals to be honorific and commemorative."
Marcuse is a critically acclaimed photographer whose work is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman Museum, and other collections. An extensive collection of Marcuse’s work and papers resides at the Beinecke Rare Books Library and the Yale University Art Gallery. She’s a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and a MacDowell fellowship. Marcuse’s books include Undergarments and Armor (Nazraeli Press, 2005), Wax Bodies, (Nazraeli Press, 2012) and Fruitless | Fallen | Woven (Radius Press, 2019). She teaches photography at Bard College.
Curated by: Valentina Connell '20 and Mariana Melin-Corcoran '20
In conjunction with the 50 Women at Yale 150 campus-wide celebration, two Yale College seniors have curated side-by-side exhibits on two different aspects of women at Yale using materials from library collections.
Valentina Connell's exhibit "Intimate Spaces and Gender: Fifty Years of Housing Policy at Yale" looks at the evolution of housing policy and residential life in Yale College over the past fifty years, since the first undergraduate women were admitted in 1969. Based on research in the library's Manuscripts and Archives Department, the exhibit shows that residential life was one of the most difficult aspects of gender integration. Residences were overcrowded, and the first women undergraduates, still a small minority on campus, felt isolated.
Mariana Melin-Corcoran's exhibit "Yale-Aided Design: The Work of Female Architecture Graduates" explores the history of women's involvement in the Yale School of Architecture. The Yale School of Fine Arts enrolled women students from its opening in 1869, but restricted them to more traditional courses of sculpture and painting. When the Department of Architecture was inaugurated in 1916 and until the late 1940s and early 1950s, only men were allowed to enroll. Among the first women architecture graduates were Leona Anneberg Nalle (M.Arch 1956) and Estelle Margolis (B.Arch. 1955). In 2016, the School of Architecture appointed its first female leader, Dean Deborah Berke.