At the core of this exhibit—curated by Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture Katy Smith Abbott in collaboration with students and colleagues from across campus—are questions about where and how awe is most readily experienced. Do contemporary encounters with awe differ from historical notions of the sublime? Does awe differ from wonder, and if so, how?

Older, paintings and prints will be displayed in conversation with contemporary objects, scientific equipment, and interactive work that compels the viewer to think of how awe is experienced through senses other than sight. The exhibit will be arranged by “studios,” so that visitors may consider groups of objects by broadly conceived themes. An Invitation to Awe seeks not to define, but to provoke, and to offer viewers the opportunity to expand their own understanding of where awe lives now.