Harvard Art Museums: Fall Opening Celebration — The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820


Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 5:00pm to 9:00pm


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street Cambridge MA
Prepared by Charles Willson Peale, Long Eared Owl (Asio otus) (detail), 1786–1827. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ornithology Department, Harvard University, 67850. Photo: Jeremiah Trimble; Courtesy of the Ornithology Department, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University; © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

pecial Event
M. Victor Leventritt Lecture

Contemporary artist Simon Starling will discuss his own practice, which stands at the intersection of art, science, and technology, in light of the range of objects, voices, and ideas that animated Harvard’s 18th-century Philosophy Chamber, the subject of this fall’s special exhibition, The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820.

Following his presentation, Starling will be joined in conversation by Ethan Lasser, head of the Division of European and American Art and the Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. Curator of American Art, and Jennifer L. Roberts, the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.

Simon Starling was born in 1967 in Epsom, United Kingdom, and graduated from the Glasgow School of Art. He was professor of fine arts at the Städelschule in Frankfurt between 2003 and 2013. He won the Turner Prize in 2005 and was shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Prize in 2004. He represented Scotland at the Venice Biennial in 2003 and has exhibited widely with solo exhibitions at Mass MOCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; The Power Plant, Toronto; Musée d’art contemporain du Val de Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine, France; Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima; Tate Britain, London; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; MUMA, Melbourne, Australia; Casa Luis Barragán and Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others. The artist currently lives in Copenhagen.

The museums will remain open until 9pm. The lecture will take place from 6 to 7:30pm in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Lecture attendees are invited to return to the galleries after the discussion, as well as to enjoy a reception in the Calderwood Courtyard.

Free admission, but tickets are required. Tickets will be distributed on the Lower Level beginning at 5pm. One ticket per person. Seating will begin at 5:30pm. After capacity is reached, additional seating in nearby Deknatel Hall will be available to view the lecture via simulcast.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

Support for the lecture is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.

Major support for the exhibition has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation.

The exhibition and catalogue were also supported in part by the following endowed funds: the Bolton Fund for American Art, Gift of the Payne Fund; the Henry Luce Foundation Fund for the American Art Department; the William Amory Fund; and the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund.