WHALE STRANDING: Daniel Ranalli - New Bedford Whaling Museum
A block print of several pilot whales on rag paper.

WHALE STRANDING: Daniel Ranalli

WHALE STRANDING: Daniel Ranalli

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Upper level Gallery

Opening: May 25, 2023

Closing: November 5, 2023

CAPTION: (above) Daniel Ranalli, Stranding Series: Pilot Whales, Iceland 2019, 2022. Unique Block Print on rag paper, 24 x 20 inches.

Cetacean stranding, more commonly referred to as beaching, refers to the phenomenon of dolphins and whales stranding themselves on beaches. There are around 2,000 strandings each year worldwide, with most resulting in the death of the animal.

Massachusetts artist Daniel Ranalli has been fascinated by the subject of whale strandings since he observed one first hand in 1991 at Wellfleet. As Ranalli explains: “My research into the history of such strandings uncovered a historical record of strandings in both the U.S. and abroad.” For Cape Cod, the history can be traced back to the early 1600s, and certain areas – the Outer Cape in particular, has a very high incidence of strandings and “drivings” (when whales were driven ashore intentionally). Combining an interest then in marine mammal science, the environment, and whaling history, Ranalli’s project is historically rooted and timely.

Whale Stranding draws together work from this series, made over the past thirty years – including recent pieces completed for this exhibition, and sets them in conversation with items from the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s collection, including photographs and stereoviews of historic whale strandings, illustrated logbooks from whaling voyages, and original whale stamps used on those voyages. While Ranalli is most fascinated by historical strandings, he does not explicitly address the current practices for combating strandings within his body of artwork. The exhibition, however, does expand outward to share current scientific work around and approaches to strandings locally and globally.

The exhibition includes related programming and the publication of a softcover catalogue, which includes essays from artist Daniel Ranalli about the inspiration and execution of the series, Robert Rocha, Curator of Science and Research about whale strandings, Michael Dyer, Curator of Maritime History, about the visual and historical influences on Ranalli’s work, Marina Wells, Photography Curatorial Fellow, on historic imagery of whale strandings, and full color plates of Ranalli’s work from the series and images of items from the collection.

About the Artist: Daniel Ranalli has been working as a visual artist for over 45 years. His work has been included in over 150 solo and group shows, and is in the permanent collections of over thirty museums in the U.S. and abroad. The recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and multiple fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Ranalli’s work can often be characterized as conceptual and/or environmental. In 1993 Daniel Ranalli founded the Graduate Program in Arts Administration at Boston University where he taught until 2015. He lives in Cambridge and Wellfleet, Massachusetts with artist, Tabitha Vevers.