Alex Katz/Moby Dick

While he was a student at the Cooper Union, Alex Katz enrolled in a class on illustration. The artist had first read Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick around the age of 13, and he found himself returning to the text in connection with assignments for this course. Moby Dick; or The Whale famously opens with the narrator, Ishmael, introducing himself to readers, and what follows is a wildly experimental novel built loosely around Captain Ahab’s obsessive pursuit of the whale who had devoured his leg during an earlier voyage. The book appealed to Katz because, as he recently noted, it “doesn’t really have a beginning, a middle, and an end … it’s a big form.” So as an art student he produced a series of twenty-seven pen and ink drawings in which Melville’s epic tale serves as a jumping-off point for imagery that ranges from the interpretive to, fittingly, the digressive or wholly imagined. Katz’s economy of line is on full view here, especially in the scenes that take place at sea. He later revisited some similar motifs during his regular visits to Maine that began in the mid-1950s. Shown publicly for the first time, these astonishing drawings will be reproduced in a small catalogue accompanying the exhibition.

A Trip to the Moon: 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Landing

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, when the first humans walked on the surface of Earth’s moon.

To celebrate, the L.C. Bates Museum is bringing out their fun moon-themed games and activities. Learn what causes an eclipse, plot a course for your moon rover to pick up rock samples, launch a bottle rocket, see how craters are formed, and more!


Adults $3 Kids $1

Wíwənikan… the beauty we carry

Wíwənikan…the beauty we carry is an exhibition of contemporary art of the First Nations people of what is now Maine and Maritime Canada. Collectively known as the Wabanaki, the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki, our people have lived in and paddled through our homeland for thousands of years.

Wíwənikan is the Penobscot word for portage. Used when traveling by canoe, portages allow us to get around obstacles, to bypass water too dangerous to paddle, or to connect to a neighboring watershed. Once ashore, canoes are emptied and decisions are made—who is strong enough to carry the heaviest things, what will be left behind for others to pick up, what will we circle back for later.

Like a river journey, our history over the last five hundred years, can be marked by a series of portage points in time: European contact and trade, colonization, international borders through our territories, and settlers that altered the landscape and rivers so that the hunting and gathering were no longer viable. At each of these points, our ancestors made decisions, just as today, about what traditions to carry forward. Basketmakers, canoe makers, carvers, painters, and beadworkers, the artists in this exhibition are the strong ones, carrying the beauty of their ancestors and culture into the future.

Wíwənikan…the beauty we carry is guest curated by Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot basketmaker and beadworker; and Kathleen Mundell, director of Cultural Resources, Inc. Curatorial advisors Gretchen Faulkner, director of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, and Theresa Secord, a Penobscot basketmaker, consulted on the exhibition. In addition, the curators collaborated with a team of community advisors: James Francis (Penobscot), Suzanne Greenlaw (Maliseet), Brenda Moore Mitchell (Passamaquoddy), Jennifer Pictou (Micmac), and Frances Soctomah (Passamaquoddy). Julia Gray served as project manager.