Henry and Abe: Finding America


On view May 17-August 23, 2015 • Changing Exhibition Galleries


First forged in the cafés of Paris in the early 1930s, writer Henry Miller and artist Abraham Rattner’s friendship was a true attraction of opposites that spanned over 45 years. Henry and Abe: Finding America is a new exhibition that chronicles the pair’s road trip through 1940s America.

After years as expatriates in France, Miller and Rattner returned to America in the late 1930s to escape the specter of Nazism in Europe. They reconnected in New York City in 1940, where they discussed their sense of alienation and how their perspectives of America had changed during their stay abroad. Both men felt a desire to travel in the United States to better understand the land of their birth.

Miller’s publisher supported the idea of a road trip, and with a $500 advance, the two set off to “re-discover” America on Saturday, October 24, 1940. Traveling in a second-hand 1932 Buick roadster, the pair departed from New York City and began their travels in the mid-Atlantic states, followed the Appalachian Mountains down to Chattanooga and then journeyed through the southern states.

The pair concluded their travels at the antebellum home of artist Weeks Hall on January 26, 1941, in New Iberia, Louisiana. But the results of their travels were documented with hundreds of sketches that Rattner created en route, plus his journals and notebooks. Miller documented their travels in two stream-of-consciousness publications, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare and Remember to Remember: Part 2 of The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.

Curator: R. Lynn Whitelaw


May 17, 2015 @ 3 p.m.
The Curator Speaks

June 6, 2015, @ 1 p.m.
Henry and Abe: A Symposium

June 6, 2015 @ 5 p.m.
Exhibition Reception and Book Signing

June 25 @ 6 p.m.
SPC International Film Fest featuring the film Henry and June

July 19 @ 3 p.m.
Henry Miller’s Voice: Readings from his Writings


Presenting Sponsor
Carol E. Martin




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