The 1962 book “The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things” radically altered how we now think about the history of art. Studying and traveling through Latin America, the author George Kubler (1912–1996) developed a methodology that would expand the scope of art history—moving it away from the study of great works of art and biographies of makers toward a consideration of every intentionally made object. Kubler contested the rigid categorization of objects based solely on temporal and spatial origins, a superficial practice that obscures the true history of how things came to be.
Kubler studied and worked at Yale University for more than 50 years. His presence is felt across the institution—from the neo-Gothic library that houses this exhibition to the Olsen Collection of ancient American art at Yale University Art Gallery.
This exhibition is a collage of Kubler’s archival materials in the special collections of Yale Library. It explores the genesis of Kubler’s inquiries, the context that enabled his work, his cross-influences with contemporaries, the methodologies that he envisioned and those he contested, and, finally, the highly influential book The Shape of Time, which ties all his work together.
Curated by: Chucho Martínez Padres ’23