Memory Ship will be a large-scale and site-specific art installation that Savannah-based artist Chris Nitsche will construct in Spartanburg Art Museum (SAM) over many days. The exhibition opens on November 7 with a reception from 5-8 p.m. During the reception at 6:30 p.m., Nitsche will speak about his work. SAM is located in Chapman Cultural Center in downtown Spartanburg, SC.
The ship, like much of Nitsche’s site-specific work, will be created from salvaged and reclaimed wood. This 50-foot ship’s hull will bisect gallery walls and offer viewers access to several portals within the ship to see small vignettes that express the artist’s ideas and associations with memory. Included in the exhibition will be Nitsche’s drawings, based on deconstructing the familiar ship form and his smaller found-object sculptures.
Nitsche grew up outside of Chicago in close proximity to Lake Michigan, where boats and sailing were part of everyday life. Although he never developed a passion for being on the water in a boat, he did fall in love with the shape of boats and has been creating artwork based on this form for almost two decades. Suzanne Deats, a friend of the artist and professional writer on the arts, recounts how Nitsche has created an “ongoing series of ships, both wall-mounted and on pedestals that features related found materials, such as sunglasses, words, light bulbs, poker chips, mouse traps, and toys, each with its own freight of philosophical baggage. Nitsche works in the moment, deliberately eschewing pat answers. Like a ship in uncharted seas, he has no idea where the story is going – only what it is carrying and why.”
Memory Ship will be unlike anything SAM has exhibited in the past. “One of my goals when I began working at SAM last fall was to bring extraordinary contemporary art into the galleries,” Elizabeth Goddard, executive director of SAM, said. “My professional background includes years of curating contemporary art, and it is incredibly relevant to today’s culture. I love art history, but I can really sink into the ideas contemporary artists bring to the foreground of visitor’s experiences. Memory Ship will not only be visually stunning and impressive, it will be conceptually accessible to all whom engage with it because we all have memories and can relate to the memories of others individually as well as collectively. SAM is very fortunate to provide visitors with such an impactful exhibition, and working with Nitsche has been an honor.”
SAM has created several programs, workshops and events centered on Memory Ship, from November’s Family Program to a College Night in January to a special over-the-top party, Shipwreck: The Anti-Holiday Party on Dec. 5, from 8-11 p.m. School groups are invited to register for a tour of the exhibition and participate in hands-on activities in the studios. For a complete list of Memory Ship events, visit SpartanburgArtMuseum.org. Memory Ship will be on view from Nov. 7, 2014, until Feb. 5, 2015, and is made possible in part by Bank of America, Dunbar Construction, Ken’s Lumber, Don Dean, the South Carolina Arts Commission and The Arts Partnership for Greater Spartanburg. For more information call (864) 582-7616.
Via: Spartanburg Art Museum