Arctic Visions Opening

April 26 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Museum

Admission to the Museum is free from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
R.S.V.P. by calling (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.


A major new exhibition titled “Arctic Visions – Away then Floats the Ice-Island” opened to the public with an evening of free activities for the entire family.

Several activities throughout the Museum were scheduled as part of the opening including:

  • 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Ice sculpting on the Museum plaza by Thomas Brown.
  • 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Zaria Forman and Lisa Lebofsky, Artists-in-Residence, at work in the Jacobs Family Gallery.
  • 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – Performance art by Drew Denny and Friends on the Lagoda.
  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Book launch & signing of The Arctic Regions – Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition, Bradford’s rare 1873 book, now republished and reformatted as a 200-page hardcover, available for $49.95 (plus tax). Jacobs Family Gallery.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Arctic Visions Opening Ceremonies, Jacobs Family Gallery.
  • 7:15 p.m. – American Magic Lantern Theater show, Cook Memorial Theater.

Using the rich Arctic and ethnographic collections of the Museum and through partnerships with other institutions and individuals, Arctic Visions explores the intersections between art, science and exploration through the work of Fairhaven artist William Bradford (1823-1892). Highlights of the exhibition include an unparalleled collection of Bradford’s Arctic paintings and photographs taken during his 1869 expedition to Greenland, which he later incorporated into a massive leather-bound elephant folio, entitled “The Arctic Regions – Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition.” The exhibition’s title, “Away then Floats the Ice-Island” is drawn from the text of this core artifact in the exhibition, which was published in London in 1873 and principally sponsored by Queen Victoria.  The extremely rare volume is being republished by David R. Godine, Inc. in association with the New Bedford Whaling Museum and released in conjunction with the exhibition opening in the Wattles Family Gallery. A book signing will take place in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Bradford’s 1873 book, now republished and reformatted as a 200-page hardcover was available for $49.95 (plus tax) at the opening; it may be reserved by calling the Museum Store: (508) 997-0046 ext. 127.

Opening concurrently in the Museum’s Centre Street Gallery, is an exhibition titled, “Following the Panther – The Arctic Photographs of Rena Bass Forman.” The exhibition featured the work of artist and photographer, Rena Bass Forman (1954-2011), who travelled extensively in search of transformational landscapes and light; it included a selection of prints taken from her 2006 trip to Greenland, during which she retraced a segment of Bradford’s 1869 voyage aboard the ship, Panther.

Zaria Forman, Rena’s daughter, along with Lisa Lebofsky,  participated in the Museum’s Artists-in-Residence Program for one month beginning with the exhibition opening. They created art inspired in part by Bradford’s voyage and the public was invited to meet and speak with the artists while they were at work in the gallery.

Taken together, the exhibition and the book reveal human impact on and understanding of the environment. Michael A. Lapides, Director of Digital Initiatives and curator of Arctic Visions noted, “Bradford’s work includes the use of photography, to serve his painting, and his magnificent book “Arctic Regions,” republished for the first time, serve as a poignant prelude to the rapidly changing Arctic landscape.” April 30th, 2013 marked the 190th anniversary of Bradford’s birth.

Also opening simultaneously at the New Bedford Art Museum’s City Gallery, a related exhibition titled “The Frigid Zone: William Bradford’s Arctic Studies,” included works by Bradford from the collection of the New Bedford Free Public Library.

Arctic Visions, related programming and the republication of Bradford’s book is generously underwritten by Bruce A. and Karen E. Wilburn, in honor of New Bedford Whaling Museum Director Emeritus, Richard C. Kugler. A recognized authority on the artist, Kugler’s 25-year tenure included building the Museum’s expansive Bradford collection.

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