Visual + Media Art
Weekdays November and December, 10 AM - 4 PM or by appointment
Weinhold Chilled Water Plant, 101 Forest Home Drive, next to Beebe Lake
Sponsored by Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Classics
"Firing the Canon" focuses on the rejection and destruction of the casts, setting their historical treatment at Cornell in the context of broader artistic and intellectual movements. "We show the casts as damaged and vandalized with graffiti," Platt says. "This draws attention to an important – and visually arresting – moment in the life of the object, which can itself be seen as a demonstration of creativity and a source of inspiration."
The collection of 19th-century casts of Grecian, Roman, Egyptian and medieval pieces was compiled in the 1890s with funds from trustee Henry Sage. Originally displayed in McGraw Hall, the pieces were moved into Goldwin Smith Hall in 1906. But by the middle of the 20th century, Alexandridis said, the casts were seen as secondhand copies of the originals, and most of them were packed away.
But now, Cornell's copies are often in better shape than the originals, due to weathering, loss and pollution's effects, making them valuable once again. The ultimate goal of Alexandridis and Platt is to restore as many of the casts as possible, and examples of their efforts will be displayed in "Firing the Canon." Graduate and undergraduate students have been helping with the restoration; the practical, public-service component of Alexandridis' Greek & Roman Art & Archaeology course this semester included work on the casts for the exhibit, guided by restorer Kasia Maroney.
Firing the Canon | Arts and Sciences Event Page