MDC Museum of Art + Design is pleased to present “A Patch of Blue: Illustrations of Oscar Wilde’s the Ballad of Reading Gaol” curated by students in the Museum Curatorial Practices course offered through Miami Dade College and New World School of the Arts. The exhibition presents works on loan from The Wolfsonian-FIU, highlighting the Symbolist style of French artist Jean-Georges Cornelius and examining various themes through original paintings and prints produced for a 1927 French publication of Oscar Wilde’s renowned Ballad of Reading Gaol.
The works on display are on loan from The Wolfsonian-FIU and never-before shown to the public, highlighting the Symbolist style of French artist Jean-Georges Cornelius, the political legacy of Oscar Wilde’s poem, and the process of early 20th century book-making. Originally published in 1897, the ballad details the execution of a fellow inmate at the HM Prison Reading and addresses the shame, dehumanization and brutality of incarceration and hard-labor sentences. For Wilde, who was convicted for “gross indecency” associated with his then-taboo homosexuality, the metaphysically wrought experience left him a broken man. “A Patch of Blue” explores the content and meaning of the text and images of this edition of The Ballad of Reading Gaol in relation to current sexual politics and issues relating to capital punishment.