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January 14, 2019 – April 26, 2019
Opening Reception: January 24th • 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Southwest Florida has a unique environmental ecosystem consisting of preserves, sanctuaries, swamps, estuaries, and coastlines. Most notably, the Everglades National Park and Gulf of Mexico reside in Southwest Florida’s backyard. Water is the life blood of the region, allowing a spectacular array of flora and fauna to flourish here. UNDERCURRENT: Florida Artists & Water, features local artists and their reflections on the waters of Southwest Florida. The variety of mediums, textures and materials present in the exhibition mirror the eclectic nature of Florida’s wildlife, as well as its human inhabitants.
The artists’ works in UNDERCURRENT highlight the deep connection between the people of Southwest Florida and the local water ecosystem, an ecosystem that faces an uncertain future. The region is enduring a historically unprecedented ecological disaster in the form of a blue-green algae and red tide bloom spreading through our inland canals and coastal waters. High concentrations of red tide (Karenia brevis) are toxic to fish, marine mammals, and birds. The recurring fresh water discharges from Lake Okeechobee create a deadly environment for our marine life, fueling the blooms and threatening the delicate water ecosystems of the region. The FGCU Library humbly thanks the contributing artists for helping to bring awareness to the Southwest Florida water ecosystem and the current environmental threats in the region.
Featured artists include Charles Brown, Mary Sullivan Voytek, Amber Frank, Jeff and Dale Ocasio, Andrew Owen, and Ran Adler.
Florida Railroads: The Gateway to Flowers, Oranges, & Alligators explores how nearly 6000 miles of track came to define the Sunshine State and reshaped the economic future of Southwest Florida. The development of Florida railroads soared from the 1880s through the roaring 1920s. Laid by hand through the often-unforgiving landscape of Florida, the tracks connected the country’s southern peninsula to the booming industry of the north. Henry Plant and Henry Flagler were career industrialists who shared a love of Florida’s distinctive natural wonders and the desire to capitalize on its untapped economic potential. The industrial giants’ race to lay track down on the east and west coasts provided the infrastructure that would establish the Sunshine State as a national leader in agriculture and tourism well into the 21st century.
The Atlantic Coast Line railway crossed the Caloosahatchee reaching Fort Myers in 1904, ushering in a new era of development throughout Southwest Florida. The railway facilitated the transport of fresh agricultural products, such as flowers and fruit, for commercial sale in northern states. The land boom of the 1920s drove the competing Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line to extend down the west coast; passenger depots dotted the map from Fort Myers to Everglades City. Both companies’ lavish passenger trains promoted the thriving tourist industry that continues to drive our economy today. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the rise of personal automobiles would ultimately crush the American passenger lines, but not before the natural beauty and wild allure of Southwest Florida captured the imagination of tourists across the country.
Florida Gulf Coast University Library extends our sincerest gratitude to author Gregg M. Turner who gifted Florida Gulf Coast University with his extensive collection of Florida railroad history and scholarship in 2014. The Turner Railroad Collection is available to view online via DigitalFGCU.
Rape Culture: Zines & Artists' Books features zines and artists’ books from 1970 to present that address the pervasive issue of rape and sexual assault. The works exhibited provide a candid and inclusive view of how rape has permeated contemporary culture. According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), someone in America is raped every 98 seconds. Rape culture is the language, laws and prevailing social attitudes that normalize these disturbingly frequent acts of violence.
Zines and artists’ books are a platform for personal expression created without censorship or outside influence. Zines, derived from “magazines,” are alternative publications constructed using inexpensive, easily accessible materials. Zines, as a genre, have historically been used by political, social, and counterculture movements to easily and inexpensively proliferate information. Zines are often created in a cooperative, utilizing multiple mediums of expression from poets, essayists, and visual artists. An artist’s book is a medium of expression that employs the structure of a book as inspiration while challenging the conventional contents of a printed volume. In sharp contrast to zines, artists’ books are produced in limited numbers and are classified as works of art typically produced by a single creator. The exhibition utilizes both mediums to confront the prevalence of sexual harassment, misconduct, and violence in our culture and prompts the viewer to reflect on one’s own attitudes and conduct that may perpetuate its normalization.
IT STARTED WITH LAND AND A GRAND PLAN - In 20 years, FGCU has become the region’s leading university, a catalyst for change, and a cultural hub for the community. FGCU has made an indelible impact on Southwest Florida. To celebrate FGCU’s first 20 years, FGCU Library Archives, Special Collections, & Digital Initiatives is proud to create an exhibition showcasing the genesis of this thriving institution. Focusing on the exploration of the land development and structural growth of FGCU, the exhibition features various views of a once-burgeoning site into a modest series of structures before culminating in its present day state.
20 Years: The Creation of FGCU is a look back on the major success and achievements made by this university over the last 20 years. By celebrating the past, we look forward to the future, as FGCU continues to make an enduring mark on the region and the memories of the countless people who wander these ever-growing halls.
Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989) is best known for his contributions to Surrealist art, which favors the subconscious as a source for meaningful imagery. Dalí Interprets features works created by the famed surrealist from two collections: Currier & Ives as Interpreted by Salvador Dali, which is part of FGCU Library’s permanent collection, and Changes in Great Masterpieces, on loan from The Dalí Museum.
Currier & Ives as Interpreted by Salvador Dalí was inspired by popular images from the 19th century American firm, Currier & Ives, whose printmaking epitomized American nostalgia. The Currier and Ives realism is in sharp contrast to the vivid, somewhat disturbing, imagery depicted by Dalí. Completed in 1971, the six lithographs feature a small facsimile of the Currier & Ives original surrounded by Dalí’s amplified interpretation.
Changes in Great Masterpieces, completed in 1974, is a suite of prints created as an homage to such legendary artists as Raphael, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Velasquez. Also coupled with facsimiles of the original work, Dalí recreates each individual masterpiece with his own playful changes using tempera and remarque. While Dalí reinterprets the revered masters’ work, his changes are more subtle than the Currier & Ives suite. Notably, Dalí included his own famed Persistence of Memory in the suite.
Changes in Great Masterpieces is the perfect complement to the Currier & Ives as Interpreted by Salvador Dali works. We extend our gratitude to The Dalí Museum and are pleased to bring together some of the collected works of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists.
Our first retrospective features highlights from the six exhibitions curated and displayed by FGCU Archives, Special Collections, & Digital Initiatives over the past three years:
In Ret-ro-spect is a survey of our previous work, a contemplation of the previous donations, partnerships, and community outreach effort that has brought us to this juncture, and the anticipation for collections and exhibitions still to come. Materials currently displayed includes both human and non-human primate bones, 500 years of books, massive Soviet paintings, photographs of Bobby Kennedy and Nixon, and antiques from the Koreshan Unity.
James D. Newton (1905-1999) was a prominent twentieth century entrepreneur and author of “Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh,” which recounts his friendship with these visionary figures. The Uncommon Friends exhibit follows Newton, a young real estate developer whose fated encounter with Mina Edison would alter the course of his life. His friendships with the likes of Edison and Ford would inspire him throughout his adventurous life, including his time enlisted in the United States Army and his subsequent involvement with the Moral Re-Armament movement. Much like their influence on the twentieth century, these men would have lasting impact on Newton’s life until his eventual death in 1999 at the age of 94.
The Uncommon Friends Foundation, established in 1993 and named after Newton's memoir, is dedicated to lifelong character building among today's youth and business leaders, and the historic preservation of James D. Newton's papers, photographs, and artifacts in the City of Fort Myers. In 2012, the Uncommon Friends Foundation and Florida Gulf Coast University Library partnered to digitally preserve and provide public access to this captivating collection of materials which can be viewed on DigitalFGCU.
Україна: Ukraine - The Maniichuk-Brady Collection of Socialist Realist Art presents work by an assortment of Ukrainian artists during the Soviet Era. After the fall of the Soviet Union, these paintings were dismissed as nothing more than echoes of their former Communist patrons, rather than as an engaging contemplation of the recent past.
Soviet Realism depicts Communist partisan values, often in the form of idealized proletariat or military subjects. Optimism is a recurring theme, and while the initial inspiration was likely generated from political inclinations, aesthetics is one of the principal objectives. Though realism dominates the majority of the works, several pieces appear to be heavily influenced by other art movements as well, such as impressionism. Created by numerous artists, the individual works form a cohesive collection that unites an array of subjects and techniques.
Narrowly rescued from destruction by Ukrainian-American Jurii Maniichuk, this collection has survived decades in order to display the arresting work of the artists who lived during a unique era that volleyed between artistic candidness and party concerns. The Maniichuk-Brady Collection illustrates a period in art history that combines a political and aesthetic cross-section that is still relevant in today’s international political climate.
The Koreshans offers a rare glimpse into a charismatic leader and his followers as they endeavored to create a thriving utopian community. Lead by their prophet Cyrus R. Teed (later called by the Hebrew translation “Koresh”), the group relocated to establish their “New Jerusalem" in Estero, Florida in 1894. The Koreshan Unity espoused radical new doctrine that was a union of reincarnation, alchemy, religio-science, and Koresh’s most radical concept: the belief that the earth is truly concave and the universe resides finite within.
The collective photographs, ephemera, monographs, and furniture on exhibit document the utopian community’s industrious nature. Though their community operated on collectivist ideals, the Koreshans sustained their fellowship by operating a bakery and general store, as well as owning and operating a printing press to create original texts, religious publications, and the American Eagle Newspaper. Koresh was a prolific writer, publishing numerous books, all of which are on display. The members of the Unity placed great emphasis on fine art, theater, and chamber music, maintaining their Victorian sensibility.
Due to the collaborative work of the FGCU Library, Florida Archives, The College of Life Foundation, and the Koreshan State Park, the public has the unique opportunity to view materials that have not been in tthe same room in fifty years.
Dr. William R. Maples (1937-1997) was a world renowned forensic anthropologist, who oversaw the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The collection includes images and documents pertaining to his many high profile cases, including the identification of the real skeleton of Francisco Pizarro, whose bones were thought to be safely tucked away in a crypt for over 80 years. After many months of persistent requests, a Zachary Taylor fanatic, with the blessing of the Taylor family, got Maples to examine the bones of the twelfth president to see if there were signs of arsenic poisoning, pointing to an assassination. Due to his notoriety in the field, Maples was also granted permission to study the skeleton of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, whose body was a scientific anomaly during his life and continues to captivate contemporary audiences. Maples’ most famous investigation revolves around the murders of the Romanov family, a mass execution in 1918, which was shrouded in mystery until the bodies were found a little over 70 years later. It would be Maples who would finally identify the skeletons and allow them to be put to rest.
This exhibit offered the rare opportunity to view some of the most exquisite examples of printmaking in a single collection. Made up of 142 volumes, the collection provides examples of five centuries of Western printmaking, typography and bookbinding. Printed in seven languages, the monographs serve as an exemplary compilation of fish scholarship including pre-Linnaean (pre-1735) naturalists Pierre Belon, Ippolito Salviani and Guillaume Rondelet. The additional seminal works Piscium, Serpentum, Insectorum, written and illustrated by Mark Catesby, and Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische, written by Marcus Bloch, are also on display.
The exhibit Ichthyology in Print intended to highlight the art of print and bookmaking. The enlarged prints enabled viewers to see the detail in the etchings and engravings that create the meticulous illustrations within the Fitzgerald volumes. Contemporary artists Andy Owen and Joan Sonnenberg generously loaned their works to the exhibit, providing the unique opportunity to view the plate alongside the subsequent print, both pieces of fine art.
Gerald F. and his wife Marjorie G. Fitzgerald graciously donated the Fish Book Collection to Florida Gulf Coast University Library in 2009. The beauty and scope of the Fish Book Collection has the Florida Gulf Coast University community indebted to the Fitzgerald family for providing our students, faculty and Southwest Florida access to these rare books. In the near future, the FGCU Library hopes to digitize the collection, making it available to the global community of fish lovers and bibliophiles alike.Press Release
The exhibition highlights a man who documented the second half of the twentieth century with an unerring eye and an incomparable nose for news. Charles Ray stepped behind the camera in 1954, at the age of 23. Ray’s camera captured a nation in flux. Through his lens, television viewers experienced the drama of presidential campaigns, the passion of the civil rights movement, and the adventure and tragedy of NASA’s race for space. Charles Ray documented our nation’s growing pains, including the bloody clashes between police and journalists covering the civil rights protests of the 1960s, and the tragic end of Camelot. He holds awards from The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the National Press Photographers Association, the Illinois Press Photographers Association and the Chicago Press Photographers Association, including three-time Cameraman of the Year, as well as multiple Emmy Awards for his news camera work.
Charles Ray graciously donated his collection to Florida Gulf Coast University Library in 2002. The Charles A. Ray Photography Collection includes photographs, negatives, daybooks, audiotapes, videotapes, periodicals, newspapers, a reel-to-reel projector, 16mm film, and other professional mementos. The collection is currently being digitized and will be made accessible to the public in 2015, cementing Ray’s aspiration to inspire future generations of journalists and photographers. Charles Ray was a skilled visionary photographer; The Story Behind the Story exhibit continued his legacy by reminding us never to take our eye off the action.Press Release