Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

For nearly 15 years Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison have been working on The Lagoon Cycle, a remarkable text/image epic, exhibited in toto for the first time by the Johnson Museum. The Lagoon Cycle is organized into seven separate sections called “lagoons,” which have been exhibited individually and revised since the early ’70s. Though the sections were not constructed in their present order, together they form an elaborative, chronological narrative detailing the growth of the Harrisons’ awareness of crucial environmental issues.

The cycle begins with a brief preface, followed by “The First Lagoon: The Lagoon at Upouveli.” Using poetic handwritten texts, large hand-painted photographs, and maps, the two narrators review their experiences in Sri Lanka, where an efficient reservoir system and dozens of crab-filled lagoons have made this densely populated island largely self-sufficient

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