McMullen Museum of Art Boston College



TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest: April 14 – July 12, 2005
Artist’s Exclusive Boston Public Appearance: At BC April 28 & 29

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (4-05) — In April, the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College will premiere the most recent work of acclaimed photographer and author James Balog, a 1974 alumnus of the university. The artist will attend and speak at the April 29 public event to celebrate the opening of the exhibition (see below).

TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest, published in October 2004 by Barnes & Noble, is Balog’s latest project and the subject of the McMullen Museum exhibition, which will be on display from April 14 through July12, 2005. [Also on display during that period: GONE: Site-Specific Works by Dorothy Cross. The artist will be at BC for a public opening reception and lecture on April 14. Call (617) 552-8100 or see for more information.]

Transcending conventional nature photography, Balog explores the changing character of the American forest in his photographs of “superlative trees.” Often he focuses on a single concentrated frame, exposing complex and swirling details of ancient trees— “champions.” He shows sculpturally elegant trees that have survived by sheer hardiness or luck.

Echoing the cubist sensibility of Picasso and Braque and similar to the mosaic-assemblage technique pioneered by photographer David Hockney, his most recent photographs are produced using a digital multi-exposure method. Balog captures a tree in thousands of tiny frames as he rappels down an adjacent tree; the composite image evokes the tree’s titanic scale. Individual photo shards—as many as eight hundred per assemblage—double as leaves on his digitally reconstructed tree. The resulting mosaic technique is closest to the scientific imaging developed for aerial and satellite photography, and widely used in geology and geophysics.

TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest; Photographs by James Balog presents a geographically diverse selection of trees that span the United States and range in age from several hundred to two-thousand years. Central to the exhibition is a monumental, color assemblage of a Giant Sequoia. [MEDIA NOTE: Exhibition images available upon request from the McMullen Museum: call Naomi Blumberg at (617) 552-4676.]

Public Opening Event: Friday, April 29, 7-9:30 p.m. RSVP Required: email or call 617-552-4935 Balog will attend the Boston College Arts Festival (April 28-30) to receive the 3rd Annual Arts Council Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement. During his BC visit—which is his exclusive public appearance in Boston—he will attend the public opening reception for the TREE exhibition. The event will be held on Friday, April 29 from 7-9:30 pm. Balog will lecture on the process and philosophy of his portraits of America’s largest, oldest trees at 7:30 pm in the Devlin Hall auditorium. [Devlin Hall, which houses the McMullen Museum, is located on BC’s Chestnut Hill campus, 140 Commonwealth Avenue.]

“The McMullen is pleased to be able to participate in Boston College’s honoring the achievements of one of its most distinguished alumni in the visual arts,” said McMullen Museum Director and Professor of Art History Nancy Netzer. “Balog’s powerful photographs have always broken new ground in capturing the ‘story’ that nature tells, and we are pleased to present his work for the first time to the Boston audience.”

“James Balog’s impressive photographs make us keenly aware of the majestic beauty and fragility of the natural world,” added BC Fine Arts Department Professor Jeffery Howe, chair of the University’s Arts Council. “His background in science, mountaineering skills and artistic vision give him a unique perspective on the environment. As with all important works of art, his images evoke moral and spiritual reflections as well as aesthetic delight. The Boston College Arts Council is pleased to honor his achievements with our alumni award.”

James Balog

For two decades Balog has consistently broken new ground in the art of photographing nature. His provocative and powerful images have received international acclaim. They have been published in National Geographic Adventure, where he is a contributing editor, and in numerous other magazines including Time, Smithsonian, Audubon, Outside, Stern and Paris-Match; his photographs have been exhibited around the globe.

The author of six books, each of which marks major conceptual advances in nature photography, Balog has received awards for his work, including the Leica Medal of Excellence.

His most recent book, TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest, accompanies this exhibition. [For more information on Balog, visit his web site:]

Boston College Arts Festival: April 28-30, 2005

Open to the public—with most events free—the seventh annual festival is expected to draw some 12,000 attendees. It showcases over 800 BC students' artistic achievements in the performing, visual and literary arts. Events take place from noon until 10:00 p.m. on O'Neill Plaza under heated tents and in surrounding campus buildings. Many faculty and alumni will also participate.

On Thursday, April 28 at 4 p.m., Balog will participate in a career-related program, which is open to the public, titled “Inside the BC Studio.” Modeled after Bravo TV’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, this program will feature a live interview of James Balog by local art dealer Robert Klein. Klein owns the Robert Klein Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston, which is the only New England art gallery devoted exclusively to fine art photography. This program will be held at Boston College in Fulton Hall, Room 511.

The Arts Festival will be held rain or shine. For more information, including a full event schedule:

On Friday, April 29 from 7:30-10:30 p.m., the McMullen Museum—in conjunction with the Boston College Arts Festival—will present a monumental outdoor continuous video projection on the O’Neill Library (viewable from the front of the Museum) from this exhibition, in addition to a video, Eyemaker by Dorothy Cross (22 minutes), whose work also is on display at the Museum.

McMullen Museum of Art

The McMullen Museum is renowned for organizing interdisciplinary exhibitions that ask new questions and break new ground in the display and scholarship of the works on view. It serves as a dynamic educational resource for all of New England as well as the national and the international community. The Museum displays its notable permanent collection and mounts exhibitions of international scholarly importance from all periods and cultures of the history of art.

The Charles S. and Isabella V. McMullen Museum of Art was named in 1996 in honor of the late parents of Boston College benefactor, trustee and art collector John J. McMullen. In keeping with the University’s central teaching mission, the Museum’s exhibitions are accompanied by scholarly catalogues and related public programs. The 10th anniversary of the formal reopening of the Museum was marked in 2003-04.

McMullen Museum Hours and Tours Admission to the McMullen Museum is free; it is handicapped accessible and open to the public. The Museum is located in Devlin Hall on the Chestnut Hill campus of Boston College, at 140 Commonwealth Avenue.

Through May, hours are as follows: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Group tours may be arranged upon request, by calling (617) 552-8587. For directions, hours from May through July, parking and program information, visit the web site at or call (617) 552-8100.

Exhibition Organizers Organized by the McMullen Museum, exhibition curators are Arts Festival Director Cathi Ianno Fournier, BC Fine Arts Department Professor Jeffery Howe, chair of the University’s Arts Council, and McMullen Museum Chief Curator Alston Conley. The exhibition is supported by Boston College, with contributions from the Arts Council, and Nikon, Inc.