Recruiting for Utopia: Print and The Imagination

June 18, 2021 to March 21, 2021


Charles Fitch & Apollos Hale, “A Chronological Chart of the Visions of Daniel & John,” hand-tinted lithograph on cloth, 55 ¾ x 39 ½ inches, J.V. Himes, Boston, 1842. Fruitlands Museum Collection.


Tim Devin, Utopia Now, reproducible poster design, 2019.

Recruiting for Utopia: Print and the Imagination considers the influence of printed matter on Utopian thought in 1840s New England. The exhibition has historical and contemporary sections that creatively observe the capacity of print and the schematic imagination to build community in the early nineteenth century and the twenty-first century. Works on view include Millerite banners that proclaim the coming apocalypse on a specific date in 1843, later Adventist banners with similar messages, a Shaker spirit drawing, pattern book, and Skeen Bible chart, and other nineteenth-century works on paper and objects from New England that foreground elements of design.

Expanding upon the historical materials shown in the Art Gallery, contemporary, serial prints in the form of booklets, broadsides, and zines by living artists displayed across the Museum campus, explore themes that resonate with the permanent collection. The artistic publications as assembled share the priorities of activism and community building. Celebrating the continued freedom of expression and speech so innate to American values, the exhibition will share diverse stories and ideas and often prompt readers to action.

Related Exhibitions

In association with Visionary New England at deCordova, related art exhibitions at deCordoa Scupture Park + Museum and Fitchburg Art Museum will be on view. This cultural collaboration across three Greater Boston arts institutions will offer visitors a range of art and public programming exploring issues of utopianism and spiritualism, past and present. More information will follow.

After Spiritualism: Loss and Transcendence in Contemporary Art
Fitchburg Art Museum
February 8—June 7, 2020

Visionary New England
DeCordova Sculpture Park + Museum
April 24 – September 13, 2020

Please follow us on social media for updates for the opening date and related programming.

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102 Prospect Hill Road
Harvard, Massachusetts 01451
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