Washington Elm Exhibit with Bruce Myren: artist talk and preview

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Washington Elm Exhibit
Featuring photographs from Bruce Myren's Fate of the Elms series

Artist Talk & Preview
Live music by Sean Staples and Eric Royer
Speakers: Bruce Myren and Gavin W. Kleespies
Light refreshments

All proceeds benefit the Cambridge Historical Society.


Name(s) of Attendee(s)


Public Reception: Thursday, November 13

Hooper-Lee-Nichols House
159 Brattle Street, Cambridge

The Cambridge Historical Society, working with artist Bruce Myren, will mount an exhibit featuring historic representations of the Elm, pieces of the tree, collectibles made from the Elm’s wood, and Myren's large-format photos of scions, cuttings grown to create clones of the original tree.

In the early nineteenth century, George Washington mania swept the country. His image was printed on everything from axes to garter belts. Cambridge, where Washington took control of the Continental Army, was featured prominently, and the Washington Elm gained an exalted place. Images of the Elm appeared on teacups, on stationery, and in paintings, while scions were planted by the hundreds across the country.

When the tree fell in 1923, it was cut into pieces, with cross sections going to the capitals of the forty-eight states, the White House, and the Capitol, and blocks going to prominent citizens across the country.

Myren quotes the English philosopher Bernard Williams when describing the show: "A myth is a fanciful picture of the past designed to justify certain activities in the present."


Bruce Myren
Currently, Myren is an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University College of Art and Design and Lecturer at Northeastern University; recently, he was a Visiting Lecturer of Art at Amherst College and Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is the Chair of the Northeast Region of the Society for Photographic Education and sits on the board of directors of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University.

In his work, Myren investigates issues of place and space, often via the exploration and employment of locative systems, either literal or metaphoric. Myren's recent series include an investigation of the Fortieth Parallel of latitude; a piece that documents the view from every place he has lived to where he lives now; and a study of the poet Robert Francis’s one-person house in the woods of Amherst, MA.

For previews from the Fate of the Elm series, visit www.brucemyren.com.


This exhibit is supported by grants from the Cambridge Arts Council and the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

The image above is from the Cambridge Historical Society's postcard collection