fish out of water



On the way back from DC, I stopped at the Huntington Museum of Art (which is right off I-64 in West Virginia, after you cross the Kentucky State Line) to see an installation piece called “Hopewell” that some people I knew had worked on, alongside Brooklyn-based artist David Ellis.

The result is a gigantic, moving, noisemaking catfish made entirely of old vinyl records.  The music this fish makes is created by some of the same devices that old player pianos use, along with cymbals, pots and pans, and of course, vinyl.  The music was composed by artist Roberto Carlos Lange.  The environment the fish is surrounded in is also kinetic and references various coal/petroleum products– vinyl fabrics which move on lines suggest the waves of the Ohio River, a large gas station price sign flips over again and again as the prices rise.  An appalachian landscape is painted on the walls and the colors look like they might have been painted with motor oil or some other non-traditional medium that recalls oil and mud.  The piece is thought-provoking in a number of ways, but is also pretty funny.  I have never met David Ellis, but based on his artist statement, I like to think of this piece as a comical self portrait- the artist as a bottom-feeding, sluggish–yet resourceful creature–flapping around on the banks of the Ohio awkwardly.

After this installation finishes its run at the Walter Gropius Masters’ Workshop Series, the artist is trying to figure out a more permanent home for Hopewell.  One rumor I heard indicated a possible location could be 21C in Louisville! I think that would be a perfect home for this piece.


2 Responses to “fish out of water”

  1. 1 Rick Neumayer
    January 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Great shots of DC and elsewhere. Loved the catfish and the wall Obama decal. Car shots were cool, too. Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures.

  2. January 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I think your louisville stuff is great, some super pictures.

    I’ve always thought Louisville has an amazing amount of character that is quite subtle and you capture it well with the photos.

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