13 January 2012

Curious new paintings at Pitt Rivers





Following the success of her previous exhibition on the Museum's Lower Gallery in early 2011, American artist Sue Johnson returns to the Pitt Rivers to show fifteen new works in The Curious Nature of Objects: Sue Johnson’s Paper Museum. The exhibition will open on Tuesday 24 January and will run until 10 June 2012 in the Museum’s Long Gallery.

‘Just occasionally, an artist comes to work with the collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum with such a sympathetic but different take that it changes everyone’s way of seeing. Such an artist is Sue Johnson.’ Jeremy Coote, Curator and Joint Head of Collections.


Johnson’s striking paintings have been inspired by images of familiar types of ethnographic and archaeological objects in the illustrated catalogue of General Pitt-Rivers’s ‘second’ collection. Working in gouache, watercolour, and pencil on paper, and drawing on her extensive knowledge of natural history illustration, museums, and archives, Johnson redisplays and reorders familiar objects in new contexts and new juxtapositions.

This illustrated catalogue has been one of the major focuses of ‘Rethinking Pitt-Rivers: Analysing the Activities of a Nineteenth-Century Collector’ (2009–2012), a three-year research project, of which Johnson is an honorary research associate, based at the Museum and funded by a grant from The Leverhulme Trust. More information about the project can be found at: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/rpr/

A catalogue (£5.00) and postcards to accompany the exhibition will be available from the Museum shop and quality reproductions of a selection of the paintings can be ordered from www.prmprints.com

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