The New Adventures of Mark Twain

Exhibition opens in New York at the Pearl Street Gallery

The opening reception of “New Adventures of Mark Twain: Coalopolis to Metropolis” exhibition in the Pearl Street Gallery was held on October 6, 2007, 5-8 pm. The exhibition was on display from September 28 – November 4, 2007.

Check out Mark Twain’s New Adventures on Google Earth

Check out the Brochure (PDF)

Pearl Street Gallery Installation Photographs

Exhibition Artworks

Exhibition Catalogue

New Adventures of Mark Twain COALOPOLIS TO METROPOLIS

Published 2007
Contributing Editor: Miranda Lawry
Published by the University of Newcastle

Featured artists: Brett Alexander, Liz Ashburn, Helen English & Nathan Scott, Anne Graham, Miranda Lawry, Philip Schofield, Pam Sinnott, Kris Smith, Trevor Weekes, Patricia Wilson-Adams

Featured writers: Don Watson, Peter Hill, Tim Fischer, Gionni Di Gravio

Opening Remarks given by Benjamin Genocchio, Art Critic for the New York Times.

Ben was introduced by Graeme Sullivan, Chair of the Department of Arts & Humanities, Teachers College, Columbia University, who served as the exhibition coordinator for the New York exhibition of the New Adventures of Mark Twain: Coalopolis to Metropolis, October 6, 2007.

Benjamin Genocchio

If there is any applause it should be for the artists who have not only made the work, but some of you have come here today, so let me add my congratulations and thanks to you. Let me also thank the gallery for hosting this exhibition–I appreciate that. It’s always important for venues in other parts of the world to support and show the work of Australian artists, so I want to thank the Pearl Street Gallery for that. And I also want to thank Graeme Sullivan for his tremendous work here on behalf of the show and the artists.

I don’t want to say too much because I do think, really, the work speaks for itself, and those that don’t there certainly is more than enough information in the catalogue. I did read the catalogue with great interest and dipped into some of my books at home on Mark Twain. I do have a little anecdote I want to share with you. I think it’s often forgotten that Mark Twain perhaps didn’t want to visit Australia, but he was broke and desperate. He only went there on a lecture tour to raise money to pay of his debts. No sooner had he stepped off the boat in Australia and a reporter asked him what seems to be now a very Australian question–he asked him immediately what he thought of the country. Evidently he replied, “I don’t know of course, but I’m ready to adopt any ideas that seems handy.”

And I guess by some madness he announced he intended to begin writing a book about Australia at once, and he said,”you know so much more about a country when you haven’t seen it.” And I think he was jesting, but at the same time knowing more about a country when you haven’t seen it was his way of talking about fiction and creativity. And I think for a creative mind often the absence of factual information, historical signposts if you will, can actually be a kind of blessing–it leaves more room for the imagination. It leaves room for you to make things up.

And so I think for the artists in this exhibition, who have almost magically, I think, created fresh, lively and entertaining visual stories from really what is the barest of prompts–a letter sent by Twain to a Newcastle dentist in gratitude for relief from a toothache. We know almost nothing about the dentist and in some ways that doesn’t really matter. Twain spent twenty minutes, maybe half an hour with him according to one of the catalogue essayists. And I think the dentist, in a way like Twain’s lecture tour was just a catalyst for something else, something bigger, and in this case the book and exhibition. So I think the moral from that, in a way, is that the organizers of the show and the artists, truly honor Twain and in their achievement of so much from so little. Thank you.

Incongruous Incredibilities: New Adventures of Mark Twain

Essay by Graeme Sullivan, Chair of the Department of Arts & Humanities, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Lovett Gallery Launch, Newcastle Australia.

The New Adventures of Mark Twain : Coalopolis to Metropolis. Exhibition opening at the Lovett Gallery, Newcastle Region Library 11th May 2007. A web link to some photos of the ‘Mark Twain: Coalopolis to Metropolis’ installation at the Lovett Gallery, Newcastle.:

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