“For many of us, David Macaulay introduced us or expanded our understanding of everything from cathedral architecture of the Middle Ages to skyscrapers of the modern era and he did it in an engaging and completely comprehensible way,” says Kevin Sharp, director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens.
The exhibition presents a diverse range of exhibition materials, including over 100 original works of art, studies, sketchbooks, book models, manuscripts and correspondence, artifacts (including hand-built ship models), stuffed specimens, reference materials, travel mementos, and a video documentary about the artist, produced for this exhibition. Macaulay’s books bring together the worlds of art, history, science and fantasy. His titles include: The Way Things Work, The New Way Things Work, Unbuilding, Cathedral, Castle, City, Mill, Ship, Mosque, Rome Antics, Angelo, Black and White, and Shortcut.
The exhibition is divided into three broad aspects of Macaulay’s work: “Big Ideas,” “Building Ship: Exploring the Artist’s Process,” and “Journey Books: The Evolution of Ideas.”
“Big Ideas” explores the mechanics of everyday objects, the construction of the world’s most complex architectural structures, and the intricacies of the human body. Viewers will learn about Macaulay’s evolution as an artist and his innate desire to understand and explain how and why objects and structures come to be. This section of the exhibition features dramatic, original drawings from such classic books as The Way Things Work, Mill, City, Underground, Unbuilding, Pyramid, Mosque, and Cathedral.
“Building Ship: Exploring the Artist’s Process” examines the creation of a book from concept, research, and preliminary layouts to finished art and text. Through images and artifacts relating to David Macaulay’s 1993 book Ship, about boat building and maritime archaeology, this section of the exhibition offers insights into the artist’s creative process through ship models, artifacts, studies, drawings, photographs, and finished art.
“Journey Books: The Evolution of Ideas” looks at the unpredictable and often frustrating nature of the evolution of ideas. Original paintings, drawings, sketches, book models and manuscripts will be presented from works inspired by Macaulay’s love of travel and his appreciation for journeys of the imagination, including Rome Antics, Angelo, Shortcut, Why the Chicken Crossed the Road, Baaa, and Black and White.