Exhibits – Fall 2010

Perkins Gallery


Book + Art: Artists’ Books from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture

Image of party dresses
Catherine Michaelis, Party Dress, 2004

Work from the collections of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, all based on the beloved form of the book. Artists’ books combine traditional arts such as graphic design, printmaking, and bookbinding with the full spectrum of contemporary art practice and theory. The artists presented here have expanded upon the book form to investigate social inequities, subvert conventional forms, and explore the intersection of creativity and gender. The exhibit is part of a semester-long celebration of book arts in collaboration with UNC Libraries. For more information, visit the exhibit website at library.duke.edu/exhibits/bookart.


Philanthropist, Environmentalist, Collector: Doris Duke and Her Estates

Doris Duke
Doris Duke

Most biographies of Doris Duke have focused on her glamorous lifestyle, often overlooking her efforts to make a difference in the world. This exhibit reveals how she continued the family’s quiet but innovative pattern of philanthropy, her drive to address environmental issues, her keen eye for art and design, her passion for preserving colonial-era houses, and her love of music.


Animated Anatomies: The Human Body in Anatomical Texts from the 16th through 21st Centuries

illustration of head“Anatomy of the Head,” from George Bartisch, Ophthalmodouleia, 1583. Colored woodcut.

This exhibit features anatomy books with movable leaves which allow the viewer to participate in virtual autopsies, so to speak. Curated by Valeria Finucci, director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the exhibit will include books from the Duke University Libraries, the History of Medicine Collection from the Medical Center Library, and material from the private collection of Professor Maurizio Rippa-Bonati, historian of medicine at the University of Padua, who is generously sending artifacts from his remarkable (and truly unique) antiquarian collection. The exhibit will be divided between the Perkins Gallery and the Medical Center Library.

Special Collections Gallery


Al Margen: Photographs by Petra Barth

Photo of man and sheep by Petra Barth
Petra Barth, “Calafate, Argentina, March 2010”

A retrospective of Barth’s wide-ranging work in the Caribbean and Latin America from 2004-2010. The exhibit officially opened at the 150th anniversary celebration of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., in November 2010. Barth’s gelatin silver prints offer a candid picture of the everyday life of people struggling to survive along the margins of society. The exhibition will be divided into two parts and mounted in the Jameson Gallery in the Friedl Building on Duke’s East Campus and the Special Collections Gallery in Perkins Library on West Campus.

Special Collections Biddle Rare Book Room Cases


“To Keep the Future Worthy of the Past”

This exhibit celebrates the centennial of William Preston Few’s inauguration as President of Trinity College on November 9, 1910. Over the next three decades, he would cultivate the strong and growing liberal arts college into a major research university and help shape James B. Duke’s transformative gift. Memorabilia from the inauguration as well as documents and images pertaining to the growth of Trinity into Duke University will be on display. For more information, visit the exhibit website at exhibits.library.duke.edu/exhibits/show/few.

Preservation Department Cases


Mastering Craft: Interpreting Historic Bookbindings

This exhibit highlights work from the Triangle Research Libraries Network Master Bookbinders Group. The group consists of staff members from the conservation labs of UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke University libraries. Its purpose is to research historic bookbindings to deepen our understanding of the history of the book, and to develop knowledge and skills that help inform daily conservation work. On display outside of the Preservation Department, Perkins Library, Lower Level 1, Room 023.

Traveling Exhibits

“I Have No Right to Be Silent”: The Human Rights Legacy of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer

Photo of Rabbi Marshall Meyer

Rabbi Marshall Meyer was an ordinary man whose extraordinary convictions, faith, and impetuous personality impelled him to become one of the most important human rights activists during Argentina’s Dirty War (1976-1983). This exhibit not only commemorates Meyer’s social activism and human rights work, but it also explores the making of an activist. Drawing on materials from Duke’s Archive for Human Rights, the exhibit first travels to the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. From there, it will go to New York City in January 2011. The exhibit is a co-project of the Archive for Human Rights at RBSMCL, the Duke Human Rights Center, and the Duke Center for Jewish Studies.

Not Just Mad Men: Real Advertising Careers in the 1960s

An exhibit inspired by the popularity of the AMC television series Mad Men highlights the real-life careers of 1960s advertising professionals. Drawing from materials from the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, the exhibit traveled this fall to Miami International University of Art and Design. From there, it will go the Art Institute of Jacksonville and the Art Institute of Tampa. The exhibit originally debuted in Perkins Library in 2008.

Generally, the Special Collections and Perkins galleries are open Monday–Saturday, 9am–9pm, and 10am–9pm on Sunday. Visit library.duke.edu/exhibits/ for more information or call (919) 684-3009 to confirm hours.