Destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, the ancient city of Pompeii has captured public imagination since it was first excavated in 1748. Pompeii: Photographs and Fragments highlights the changing representations of Pompeii over time. The exhibition centers on two projects by the artists William Wylie and An-My Lê, M.F.A. 1993, made while they were both Happy and Bob Doran Artists in Residence in Praiano, Italy, in 2012 and 2016, respectively. Wylie’s large-scale photographs of Pompeii reanimate the ancient city, showing the ongoing cycles of deterioration and preservation that mark it as a living landscape. Lê’s hand-bound artist’s book features views of the Bay of Naples and images of the reliefs, frescoes, paintings, and sculptures that make up the hidden erotica collection of Pompeii, or “Secret Cabinet,” held in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Fragments of ancient Roman wall paintings and a range of domestic objects from the period and region are also on view, along with a selection of 18th-century etchings and 19th-century photographs, enriching our understanding of this 1st-century Roman town.
Views of the Exhibition
Exhibition organized by Judy Ditner, the Richard Benson Assistant Curator of Photography and Digital Media. Exhibition made possible by Mary Jo and Ted Shen, B.A. 1966, Hon. 2001, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund.