(A previous posting claimed Hamilton’s talk was tonight. It is in fact Thursday, February 5 at 7 p.m.)
Austin Peay is bringing it this semester. Last week, we heard from Brooklyn artist Laura Splan, and tomorrow, we’ll get an hour with Ann Hamilton. For over two decades, Hamilton has established herself as peerless. Her site-specific, large-scale installations are both sensual and cerebral, and she allows viewers to access her work with many senses. Hamilton’s work frequently depends on the audience for completion, but never quite so much as in “the event of a thread.” Her most recent installation, “the event of a thread” took up in the drill hall of the Park Avenue Armory. Hamilton, who is a MacArthur genius, created an enormous white curtain, attached through an intricate system of pulleys to swings. As visitors would swing on the swings, the curtain would sway and ripple. At each end of the hall, attendants read Darwin, Aristotle, and the poet Ann Lauterbach to pigeons, and each night, someone would close the show with song. See Hamilton discuss the work in this video from ART21.
I didn’t see “the event of a thread,” although I was living in New York at the time. Like many events in my time there, it happened without my knowledge, while I was distracted by work and other obsessions. What I admire in Hamilton’s work is her ability to comfort people by reminding them that they’re part of something larger, while still respecting their solitude. She puts a lot of trust in her viewers, which I always find curious, and her materials often include text and textiles– my favorite things.
The talk filled up quickly, and I’m grateful I get to attend. I hope to ask her a few questions, and I’ll be sure to report back.