Through May 5th, Seattle’s Frye Museum is hosting a unique exhibit inspired by Joyce’s Chamber Music. The exhibit consists of 36 paintings done by different artists to correspond with each poem in the collection. However, instead of merely reading the poem, the artists created their work in response to music inspired by the individual poems. In addition to the artworks themselves, the Frye is also providing museum-goers with access to other work the artists have done, including academic, curatorial, and theoretical items. The full exhibit description can be accessed here.
On December 7 Christie’s auctioned off a signed first edition of Ulysses. The item sold for $170,000, no doubt in part of its highly interesting provenance. Joyce gave it to Annie Winifred Ellerman and Robert McAlmon after they had become friends in Paris in 1921. Both Ellerman and McAlmon had a significant impact on the volume. They helped finance this initial 100 volume printing and McAlmon served as Joyce’s typist for several early sections of the manuscript. The bookplate, designed with an Icelandic theme by George Plank, has a history of its own. In 1946 it was partially torn out by H.D. during a nervous breakdown in Lowndes Square, London, where she and Ellerman lived. The volume had been part of Ellerman’s collection. Ellerman, known as Bryher, was a novelist, poet, and magazine editor, and helped finance and encourage a number of prominent projects and authors. Visit the item listing at Christie’s here.
“In celebration of the end of copyright on the 1st edition,” the fledgling, multi-platform Banner Magazine is dedicating its second issue to Ulysses. Banner Magazine began in 2011 and is published bi-annually both digitally and in print. Co-editors Sophie Brew and Chris Woolfry provide “no editorial guidelines” for submissions in the hope of providing a “place to bring together interesting people and give them a platform.” The issue, designed by Sarah Carter, features an array of creative and critical work related to Ulysses. The selections range from recipes and photo art featuring the “inner organs of beasts and fowls” to selections from Robert Berry’s graphic novel, Ulysses Seen. In addition, Woolfry meditates on copyright and art and Zak Klein proposes new ways of reading literature, and particularly difficult books like Ulysses. Other items included in the issue are interviews with Jeremy Mortimer, who recently dramatized Ulysses for BBC radio, and Stephen Cole, who tweeted the novel on Bloomsday, 2011. Take a look at the issue here.
The Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin is currently featuring an exhibit entitled “Creator and Character: Artists Interpret James Joyce.” The exhibit runs through early February and features the work of several artists whose work is in some way influenced by or about Joyce or Joyce’s writing. Artists in the exhibit include Peter Blake, Gisele Freund, Richard Hamilton, David Levine, Robert Motherwell, and Paul Wunderlich. The different works vary in content and medium, but feature portraits, photographs, and cartoons of Joyce, as well as the 1988 limited edition letterpress version of Ulysses featuring 40 of Motherwell’s prints. The work in the exhibit spans several decades and much of it has been produced as the artists’ interaction with Joyce’s work has developed. For more information about the individual exhibits and artists visit the Museum’s webpage.
On October 26th, Joan Budgen, daughter of Joyce’s great friend, Frank Budgen, donated a collection of her father’s papers and books to the James Joyce Centre in Dublin. Joyce knew Budgen in Zurich while working on Ulysses and frequently corresponded with him after he left. In his book James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses, Budgen recounts many of the insights into his work Joyce shared with him in conversation and letters. The donated items include a first edition of Joyce’s book of poems, Pomes Pennyeach, a group of materials that eventually became portions of the Wake, and a first edition of Exiles. In addition, there are several sketches done by Zurich artists and a cover design for the Wake by Joyce’s daughter Lucia. Chairwoman of the Joyce Centre, Deirdre Ellis-King, welcomed Joan Budgen and the generous donation at an event also attended by Senator David Norris, Joyce’s grandnephew Bob Joyce, and other Joyceans.
The Beechill Bulbs Company of Tullamore has provided 23,000 tulip bulbs that, when fully in bloom, will be a six-meter-wide portrait of James Joyce at Ireland’s National Botanic Gardens. The project is being overseen by former landscape architect Jan Guldenmond and his assistant Nol van Ruiten. Planting the bulbs is a highly intensive process. Each one must be carefully selected and positioned in the earth to insure that they bloom in unison. The idea for the project came from a tulip-naming competition sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom on the Netherlands, which was won by Limerick resident Mary McClure. Support has come from a variety of organizations including the James Joyce Centre, the Irish Museums Trust, and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Those wishing to see the portrait should visit the National Botanic Gardens in the spring of 2013. Click here for more information on tulip bulbs and the portrait.
As part of this year’s Bloomsday celebration, the Hunt Museum in Limerick displayed Joyce’s death mask. The mask, one of two originals, was made two days after Joyce’s death in 1941 out of Dublin silver by Swiss sculptor Paul Speck. The Hunt Museum has had the mask on loan from a private collection for the past 12 years, but has kept it in storage until this year’s Bloomsday. If you’re interested in viewing the mask, it is necessary to do so soon because it will be put back in storage at the end of June. Hat tip to the Irish Times.
Filed under: Exhibits & Displays
Dublin based graphic designer Rachel Kerr has produced a unique Ulysses-based art project she describes as a “marriage of typography and cartography.” The pieces textually represent people, places, and streets from Ulysses on a map of Dublin as they appeared on June 16th, 1904 and are lithographically printed on high-quality paper. The pieces, which will be available for purchase on the website soon, foreground artistic design and are made “to be loved.” The project is the result of Kerr’s ongoing interest in Ulysses and is inspired by Leopold Bloom’s journey through Dublin. Here is a link to the website which is called “Leopold’s Day.”
From Monday June 11th-Friday June 15th John Feeley and Fran O’Rourke will be performing lunchtime recitals of Irish songs from Joyce’s works in several Dublin locations. Tickets will cost €10. These recitals will be performed on the guitar made famous by its appearance in this photo with Joyce. This guitar was restored by Gary Southwell in March of this year and is on loan from the Joyce Tower thanks to the James Joyce Museum. It will be back in Sandycove in time for Bloomsday celebrations. For information on the times and locations of the recitals follow this link. For more on the guitar’s restoration process follow this link
Alice Coglan’s Wonderland Productions is hosting a walking audio tour of Joyce’s Dubliners, the 2012 selection for The Dublin City Libraries’ One City, One Book Initiative. As the tour moves through Dublin, the walker/listener will hear, on mp3 player, excerpts from Joyce’s short story collection performed by Barry McGovern, Billie Traynor, and others. The tour provides two options: The Half Day’s Adventure lasts four hours or the committed can do the Full Day’s Epic which lasts seven hours. Here is a link with pricing and other details courtesy of the Irish Times.