DANIEL ARSHAM: HOURGLASS & HALE WOODRUFF’S MURALS TALLADEGA COLLEGE
Daniel Arsham: Hourglass
March 4–May 21, 2017
This exhibition continues artist Daniel Arsham’s (American, born 1980) ongoing project Fictional Archaeologies, in which he creates replicas of everyday objects—such as basketballs and cameras—in precious and semi-precious stones. The objects become fossils, remnants of our present seen through the eyes of a future researcher.
Hourglass comprises three related, site-specific installations, each infused with mythology and striking color. In one area, the artist will create a complete Japanese Zen garden with traditional pagoda, tatami mats, and raked sand, all rendered in bright blue. Arsham will transform a second gallery space into a purple amethyst cavern composed of sports equipment. The final installation consists of a set of large hourglasses filled with crushed blue crystals and sculptural casts. Performers will move through the gallery periodically, subtly altering different elements of the space.
Arsham’s interdisciplinary practices range from painting and sculpture to set design. In 2004, he began producing scenography for ballets, symphony orchestras, operas, and music videos. He has worked with composers and choreographers including Merce Cunningham, Pharrell Williams, and Jonah Bokaer. Arsham founded the design and architectural firm Snarkitecture with Alex Mustonen in 2007 and the production company Film the Future in 2014 with Ben Louis Nicholas and Courtney Andrialis. His work has been presented at MoMA PS1, the MCA Academy in Miami, the Athens Biennale, the New Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, and other renowned institutions.
Arsham lives in New York City. This exhibition parallels Arsham’s scenography for two of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s spring shows: Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator and Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo.
The Museum commissioned artist Lauri Stallings to create choreographies for two of the installations in Hourglass. Stallings’s movement systems will be performed by two glo Atlanta “people movers.” This collaboration is in conjunction with the premiere of Orfeo, for which Stallings is creating a series of tableaux vivants.
Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College
January 21–May 7, 2017
In 1938, Atlanta-based artist Hale Woodruff (American, 1900–1980) accepted a commission to paint a series of murals for Talladega College, Alabama, one of the first colleges established for African Americans in the United States. Installed in the institution’s Savery Library, the murals portray noteworthy events in the rise of black Americans from slavery to freedom. The first series depicts scenes from the slave uprising on the ship the Amistad in 1839. The second illustrates the founding of Talladega College and delves into themes in the struggle for freedom, education, and equality, which held personal significance for Woodruff as a black man in the Jim Crow South.
Though he painted the murals for a local audience of students and faculty, Woodruff intended their impact to reach beyond Talladega’s campus. The murals attracted national attention. Cultural leaders in the African American community, in particular, championed Woodruff’s paintings, adopting the project as a statement of pride and hope for racial equality. Today the murals remain symbols of the centuries-long struggle for civil rights.