Photographer Abelardo Morrell ’71 Dedicates Work to ‘Unsung’ Museum Security Guards

Abelardo Morell, “Thoreau: 40 Journals in Chronological Order” (2017) courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery)

Renowned photographer Abelardo Morrell ’71 has donated a piece of artwork to the Manhattan gallery where he used to work as a night watchman, and dedicated it to the security guards who still work there.

According to Andrew Chow in The New York Times, the work, called Thoreau: 40 Journals in Chronological Order, will be on display at the Morgan Library & Museum through September 10, 2017, as part of a show called “This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal, which traces Henry David Thoreau’s life through notebooks and other artifacts.”

Morrell worked with the museum to photograph the back covers of twenty four years worth of Thoreau’s journals. “The resulting colorful grid resembles a quilt,” writes Chow, “and will be displayed at the entrance to the exhibit.”

Morrell told the art news website Hyperallergic that he wanted to honor the security guards’ sometimes unsung role at the museum. “I was a night guard at the Morgan in 1979,” he said. “I grew up in a working class Cuban American home. Despite my successes in this country, I continue to remain mindful of the work that so many provide to make this country work. Dedicating this piece to the guards is my way to show appreciation for them.”

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