During the 2015-2016 academic year, Wilson’s research was focused on a project on cyanotype photography. With Nancy Burns, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Worcester Art Museum, she co-curated an exhibit titled “Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period.” The exhibition was on view from January 19 to April 24, 2016. During the Fall 2015 semester, Wilson taught a research seminar for upper-level undergraduates at Clark that complemented the exhibition. In May 2017, Burns and Wilson were honored to receive an Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators for the project.

Below is a running narrative, updated throughout the course of the project,
about our progress. Enjoy!

Students in ARTH 249: Special Topics in Modern Art: Cyanotypes are involved with several aspects of the exhibition. They have met with a variety of folks at the WAM to learn about the many steps behind putting together an exhibition, including conservation, matting and framing, exhibition design, and graphic design. Here are some photos in action!

Learning about framing, catalogue design, and exhibition design:IMG_5760IMG_5806

Learning about museum education and leading a tour:IMG_5832

Discussing the exhibition layout and studying the model of the gallery:


Students are also tasked with researching an individual object that will appear in the show. Their research will culminate in an essay which will appear in our exhibition catalogue, Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period. Their research will also appear in the gallery labels, which will accompany several works in the show. Here are a few snapshots of art historical inquiry in action:

Casey Shea studies a pair of cyanotype body slices:

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Gabrielle Belisle examines an Anna Atkins cyanotype:

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Throughout the semester, the students have been working in teams to develop gallery labels for the different sections of the exhibition. Some brainstorming and collaborative work:

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The drafts of their exhibition labels were critiqued by peers, Wilson, and Burns:


On Wednesday November 4, students turned in the first drafts of their essays.


On November 18, students submitted draft no. 2 of their individual essays, and did a lengthy peer review of each other’s work.

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And… Wilson and Burns got those second drafts to read as well!




Everything is coming together quickly! Editing, proofing, and yet more editing
and proofing. Here is a draft of catalogue (with orange tabs to mark where corrections needed to be made). Kim Noonan has done a beautiful job.
It will be available mid-February!!

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In the gallery, Patrick Brown and his team have been working hard and the gallery is going to be stunning. Some views of the gallery in process:

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On January 14, the paper on the glass entrance wall came down…

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We are excited to share the exhibition with the public!!2016-01-14 16.07.20 2016-01-14 16.08.00

On the evening of February 18, 2016, Nancy, the seminar students, and I shared the exhibition and celebrated the publication of the catalogue with a crowd of several hundred at the Worcester Art Museum. It was a wonderful event! (photos with the gracious courtesy of Stephen DiRado – thank you Stephen!!)

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WAM’s Access Magazine features Cyanotypes. To see the story, click here.

Worcester Magazine’s Joshua Lyford wrote a story about the entire collaborative project in the January 7, 2016 issue. Read it here.

Antiques & The Arts Weekly ran a story in the January 8, 2016 issue. To read it, click here.

Clark’s press release does a great job of explaining the project. (Thank you Jim Keogh!)

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette published a nice article about the exhibition and the Clark-WAM collaboration on January 17.

Jared Bowen interviewed Nancy and me for his show, Open Studio, which airs on WGBH, on January 22.

Allen Eisenberg interviewed us for his show, Two on the Aisle, on WCUW, also on January 22 (follow the link to the show’s homepage, then click on the January 22, 2016 show).

The New York Times ran an article about the exhibition on Saturday February 6.

The Boston Globe‘s review ran on Wednesday February 10.

Elin Spring reviewed the show for her photography blog on February 16.

Hyperallergic, the Brooklyn-based arts blog, wrote about the exhibition on February 25.

Jay Sugarman interviewed us for “Museum Open House,” a show on Newton Public Television.

Photograph Magazine reviewed the exhibition on their website.

The West Hartford News ran an article about Alex Gray’s work on the show on March 3!

The Telegram & Gazette featured Casey Shea’s research on April 18!