Carl Hertzog Exhibition Preparation

Tom Lea (L) and Carl Hertzog (R), 1967

Readers of this blog know that we are in the midst of what I am calling “the year of Hertzog.” As I’ve discussed in the past, I have an unabashed love for the work of the Printer at the Pass, and the recent acquisition of the collection of Dr. Llerena Friend dramatically expanded our Hertzog collection.

It seems only fitting, then, that the third of our four exhibits this year will be focused on the work of Carl Hertzog held here in Special Collections.

Perhaps a bit of background is required for our readers who have yet to hear about our exhibitions here. We have four shows every academic year – two in the fall semester and two in the spring. So far this year, we’ve had Emily Higgs’ outstanding show, titled For God and Texas, which you’ve seen discussed on this blog. We will be installing a student curated show this week, titled Legacies of Chinese Culture. That show is curated by Allison Miller’s Introduction to Art History Class, and is an example of our turning over exhibitions and our space to students and classes interested in curating exhibitions from materials held in our collections.

I began preparing for this show last week in the way that I normally do: pull everything that seems of interest around a given topic. Since we are in the midst of measuring our holdings against Printer at the Pass, we have a good knowledge of the unusual Hertzog items we hold. My intention is to avoid the Hertzog highlights (The King Ranch, Pelelieu Landing, etc.) and the widely accepted gems of Hertzog’s work. Instead, my intention is to highlight either lesser-known work, or unique copies we hold.

To that end, I’ve pulled approximately 25 titles from our collection that seem like candidates for inclusion in the exhibition. This is the first step I usually take when preparing for an exhibit. I spend time with what I’ve pulled, and let the material speak to me. What are the themes and threads in the work? What rises to the surface, and which items seem to be less strong candidates for inclusion in the show? I think it’s the most fun part of preparing for an exhibit, and it’s always a little sad when the final decision has to be made of what to, and not to, include in the exhibition.

My next step is to create a thesis for the show – what is the central point? This is where having the material out is useful to me.

I do hope you’ll be able to join us for this show – I am already having quite a bit of fun preparing it for you!