“Pleasures of the Night” is a special installation curated by students in the class “Cities Dark and Light” (ARCH 6819), taught by Professor Mary N. Woods. Works on view from the Johnson Museum’s permanent collection explore the pleasures to be had in the glow of different kinds of electric light. From colorfully lit nightclubs to dimly lit restaurants, the activities of the night, staged with the city as its backdrop, call for everyone to participate, unpacking diverse social dynamisms.

Charles Baskerville (American, 1896–1994), Party invitation. Watercolor. Gift of the artist, Class of 1919, 95.027.022.

Nighttime pleasures reside in technological advancements of electricity, in consumption of mass media and pop culture, and in the sensorial spaces of nightclubs, theaters, and cinemas. The installation follows the chronology of night from dusk to dawn and highlights initial preparations for the night, climaxing at chaotic and vivid gatherings, and winding down to moments of isolated intimacy and reflection.

This special installation is on view in the Museum’s study gallery on Floor 2L from December 11 to 23, 2018. A public opening reception will be held on December 11 at 3:00 p.m.


The Johnson Museum has a permanent collection of more than 35,000 works of art from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The museum building was designed by I. M. Pei. Funds for the building were donated by Cornell alumnus Herbert F. Johnson, late president and chairman of S C Johnson. The building opened in 1973 and a wing opened in 2011.