Past Exhibit

Recruiting for Utopia: Print and the Imagination

drawing of a dragon in an old book

Recruiting for Utopia: Print and the Imagination considers the influence of printed matter on Utopian thought in 1840s New England. The exhibition has historical and contemporary sections that creatively observe the capacity of print and the schematic imagination to build community in the early nineteenth century and the twenty-first century. Works on view include Millerite banners that proclaim the coming apocalypse on a specific date in 1843, later Adventist banners with similar messages, a Shaker spirit drawing, pattern book, and Skeen Bible chart, and other nineteenth-century works on paper and objects from New England that foreground elements of design.

Expanding upon the historical materials shown in the Art Gallery, contemporary, serial prints in the form of booklets, broadsides, and zines by living artists displayed across the Museum campus, explore themes that resonate with the permanent collection. The artistic publications as assembled share the priorities of activism and community building. Celebrating the continued freedom of expression and speech so innate to American values, the exhibition will share diverse stories and ideas and often prompt readers to action. This contemporary exhibition was co-curated by Paige Johnston. Artists include: Joseph Cuillier & Shani Peters for The Black School, Emily Larned, Kimberly Enjoli, Maria Molteni and Lacey Prpic Hedtke, New Craft Artists in Action, Ang Roell, Frau Fiber, Jane Marsching, Alex Arzt, Upstander Project, Dynasty Handbag, Sonya Atalay, Jen Shannon, & John G. Swogger for NAGPRA Comics, The Women’s Center for Creative Work, Steve Locke, John Dancy-Jones, and Tim Devin.

Please note: dates are subject to change.

On August 12, Shana Dumont Garr sat down with colleagues from the Fitchburg Art Museum and Maria Molteni to discuss aspects of this exhibition and the sister exhibition at the Fitchburg Art Museum.

In January, Alex Arzt and Tim Devin discussed their respective artistic practices, particularly three-volume artist books they each have in the exhibition “Recruiting for Utopia: Print and the Imagination” at Fruitlands Museum.

Art On View