Julia Jacquette. Portion of centerfold from Playground of My Mind, 2010-2015. Gouache on paper, Image courtesy of the artist.

The Secret Art Language of New York Playgrounds, a New York Times feature article that appeared in print on March 16, focused on the work of Julia Jacquette currently on exhibit at the Wellin Museum. Unrequited and Acts of Play includes Jacquette’s paintings of commercial products and media images, but it was images from her graphic memoir Playground of My Mind, also part of the Wellin exhibition, on which the article centered.

Jacquette completed her decade-long narrative memoir at the suggestion of Wellin Museum Johnson-Pote Director Tracy Adler. The book, published by the Wellin and DelMonico Books/Prestel, tells the story of her experiences playing in the adventure playgrounds of the 1960s and 1970s and the imaginative play their forms encouraged. “The architects who made these didn’t ever want to dictate play,” she said in the Times article. “They offered the kids a vocabulary. In a way, I am still that kid.”

Jacquette reflected on how “the playgrounds’ use of repetition and grids taught her a vocabulary. … ‘As soon as I was an adult making artwork, I gravitated toward those systems.’”

Adler, who curated the exhibition, observed, “The work prompts a question: ‘How does the play of our childhood inform who we are as adults?’”

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