In Focus

[Figure from Book I. Elucidations]. Oliver Byrne. The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid: In Which Coloured Diagrams and Symbols Are Used Instead of Letters for the Greater Ease of Learners. London: William Pickering, 1847: p. xxiv.

September 17-December 14, 2018

Numbers can indicate quantity but also size, sequence, importance, and even identity. This exhibition presents a selection of works from Arts Library Special Collections that incorporate various aspects of numbers. The books on display include almanacs, maps, musical scores, poems, and puzzles. They employ both practical and theoretical approaches to numbers—from counting sheep (and even clouds) to exploring such concepts as time, distance, money, and magnitude. Other books examine the relationship between numbers and language or color. Whether system or symbol, concrete or abstract, numbers = meaning.

[Detail of slipcase textile], Negative Entropy (2015) by Mika Tajima. Image copyright Mika Tajima. Used with permission.

April 9–September 7, 2018

Text and textile are linked far beyond their shared linguistic origin in the Latin verb texere, meaning to weave. Both are situated at intersections of the material and the cultural. Craft, content, and context determine their use values and multiple meanings over time. A multitude of technologies and techniques of the hand and the machine give structure to words as well as fibers. Such verbal and visual transformations may appear on the surface of the thing itself or lie beneath the assembly of interlocking, overlapping, or contrasting elements.