A 52-foot-long felt whale by artist Tristin Lowe (American, b. 1966) has taken over its display floor at the Jepson Center in Savannah, holding space alongside works by internationally renowned artists.
“Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick,” on view through Jan. 26, 2020, examines the work of six contemporary artists – photographer Corey Arnold (American, b. 1976), videographer Guy Ben-Ner (Israeli, b. 1969), videographer Patty Chang (American, b. 1972), photographer Allan Sekula (American, 1951-2013), and artist Frank Stella (American, b. 1936) – who respond to, challenge and celebrate ideas presented in Herman Melville’s literary classic “Moby-Dick.”
The artists in this exhibition were selected as a result of the epic, Moby-Dick-like nature of their own work, with some pieces painstakingly created over multiple years and others executed on a large scale.
Lowe’s “Mocha Dick” (2009) is made of industrial wool felt that has the scale, volume, an attention to biological detail of an actual sperm whale. The piece includes an internal fan to keep the whale inflated.
The exhibit includes a selection of 18 prints from Stella’s “Moby Dick” series, made from 1985-1997; and Ben-Ner’s “Moby Dick” (2000), a playful response to the novel through video storytelling.
“As we celebrate the bicentennial of Melville’s birth this year, “Moby-Dick” is more prophetic today in 2019 than it was upon its first publishing, where it went all but unnoticed until well after Melville’s death,” said Rachel Reese, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art for Telfair Museums. “Melville was writing about whales, but he was also writing about the human condition. Importantly, the artists’ work in this exhibition encourages conversations about everything from our global port city here in Savannah to contemporary topics such as race, religion, ecology and nature.”
Jepson Center is located at 207 W. York St. in Savannah. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
For more information, call 912-790-8800 or visit Telfair.org.