Sarah J. Montross

Sarah J. Montross is Curator at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She has curated or cocurated such notable exhibitions as Screens: Virtual Material, Cool Medium: Art, Television, and Psychedelia, and Expanding Abstraction: New England Women Painters 1950 to Now. She is the editor of Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas (MIT Press).nies.

  • Visionary New England

    Visionary New England

    Sarah J. Montross

    Connecting New England's historical spiritualist and utopian traditions—from Brook Farm to Harvard's LSD research—to work by contemporary artists with regional ties.

    New England has a rich history of spiritual, mystical, and utopian strivers. Their visionary schemes range from nineteenth-century Transcendentalist experiments in communal living at Brook Farm and Fruitlands to the Harvard Project's LSD research, led by Timothy Leary, in the mid-twentieth century. The search for alternative ways of life often overlapped with the search for the Divine or expanded modes of consciousness and creativity. Visionary New England, which accompanies an exhibition at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, connects these traditions to the work of ten contemporary artists with New England ties. Generously illustrated, with ninety color images, the book interweaves analysis and imagery of New England's visionary traditions with reproductions of paintings, photographs, video, and installations by the artists.

    Essays examine New England's spiritualist and utopian practices; Transcendentalist writers' conception of Nature as “Other”; and the social significance of spiritualism. Texts by exhibiting artists Anna Craycroft and Candice Lin address the pedagogy of Amos Bronson Alcott, cofounder of Fruitlands, and the effects of opium trade in New England.

    Visionary New England bridges past and present, offering a new lens through which to understand contemporary art.

    Essays by

    Sarah J. Montross, Richard Hardack, Lisa Crossman, Anna Craycroft

    Artists

    Gayleen Aiken, Caleb Charland, Anna Craycroft, Angela Dufresne, Sam Durant, Josephine Halvorson, Paul Laffoley, Candice Lin, Michael Madore, Kim Weston

    • Hardcover $35.00 £28.00
  • Past Futures

    Past Futures

    Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas

    Sarah J. Montross

    A sumptuously illustrated exploration of themes from science fiction and space travel, as imagined by artists across the Americas from the 1940s to the 1970s.

    From the 1940s to the 1970s, visionary artists from across the Americas reimagined themes from science fiction and space travel. They mapped extraterrestrial terrain, created dystopian scenarios amid fears of nuclear annihilation, and ingeniously deployed scientific and technological subjects and motifs. This book offers a sumptuously illustrated exploration of how artists from the United States and Latin America visualized the future. Inspired variously by the “golden age” of science fiction, the Cold War, the space race, and the counterculture, these artists expressed both optimism and pessimism about humanity's prospects.

    Past Futures showcases work by more than a dozen artists, including the biomorphic cosmic spaces and hybrid alien-totemic figures painted by the Chilean artist Roberto Matta (1911–2002); the utopian Hydrospatial City envisioned by Argentine Gyula Kosice (1924–); and Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan, in which Robert Smithson (1938–1973) layered tropes of time travel atop Mayan ruins. The artists respond to science fiction in film and literature and the media coverage of the space race; link myths of Europeans' first encounters with the New World to contemporary space exploration; and project futures both idealized and dystopian.

    The book, which accompanies an exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, also includes an essay by the editor and curator mapping central themes; an exploration of how Latin American artists have depicted astronomic phenomena, utopian projects, and the modern machine; an essay on space-age art in Argentina during the 1960s; and a study of Smithson and science fiction.

    Essays Sarah Montross, Rodrigo Alonso, Rory O'Dea, Miguel Ángel Fernández Delgado

    Artists include Rudy Ayoroa, Luis Benedit, Marcelo Bonevardi, Enrique Careaga, Enrique Castro-Cid, Vija Celmins, Carlos Colombino, Juan Downey, Fred Eversley, Mario Gallardo, Dan Graham, Nancy Graves, Raquel Forner, Peter Hutchinson, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Gyula Kosice, Roberto Matta, Emilio Renart, Robert Smithson, Michelle Stuart, Rufino Tamayo, Horacio Zabala

    • Hardcover $29.95 £25.00