“The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal” and “Baya: Woman of Algiers”
In conjunction with the exhibition The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal
The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal is the first U.S. museum exhibition to present the extraordinary drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (Spain, 1852–1934), the father of modern neuroscience. Cajal’s astonishing depictions of the brain—which combine cutting-edge scientific knowledge with consummate draftsmanship—offer much greater clarity than photographs, so much so that they are still in wide use today. Featuring approximately 80 of Cajal’s drawings, the show will situate them within the history of scientific illustration from the 16th to 19th centuries, and juxtapose them with contemporary visualizations of the brain. Organized by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in collaboration with the Cajal Institute, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated book published by Abrams.
The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal was developed by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, with the CSIC’s Cajal Institute, Madrid. The presentation at the Grey Art Gallery is made possible in part by generous support from Ann Hatch; the Simons Foundation; the Consulate General of Spain in New York; Jessica Swartz; Carl Zeiss Microscopy, LLC; Tonix Pharmaceuticals; the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. At New York University, additional key support is provided by Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost; College of Arts and Science; King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center; Faculty of Arts and Science; Center for Neural Science; Neuroscience Institute at Langone Health; the Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, Langone Health; and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Baya: Woman of Algiers is the first North American exhibition of works by the self-taught Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine (1931–1998). Known as Baya, she was born in Bordj el-Kiffan and orphaned at age five. Encouraged by her adoptive French mother to pursue art, she began as an adolescent to paint gouaches and make ceramics. Her work was soon discovered by fabled gallerist Aimé Maeght who, along with André Breton, organized an exhibition in Paris in 1947. Baya’s colorful depictions of women, rhythmic patterns, and bright palette drew the attention of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, with whom she later collaborated in the renowned Madoura pottery studio in Vallauris. Celebrated in both Algeria and France, Baya has yet to gain international recognition. Woman of Algiers reexamines Baya’s career within contemporary, Surrealist, “outsider,” and Maghreb post-colonial art contexts. The exhibition features works drawn from the Maeght Family Collection, Paris, as well as several Madoura ceramics by Picasso and a video by London-based French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira. Baya is curated by Natasha Boas and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Boas, André Breton, Assia Djebar, and Menna Ekram.