Summon the Sea!

A Bower in the Arsacides (Axsom 219) by Frank Stella
58.25″x49.6″; lithograph, etching, aquatint, relief and collagraph; 1993
Courtesy of Collection Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Schnitzer Family Foundation; © Frank Stella


Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick

at Jepson Center, Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia, USA
1 November 2019-16 February 2020

Regarded as one of the great American novels, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851) presents an allegorical story that has been reinterpreted over the past 168 years and still holds a prophetic power over our collective imagination. Scholars have long debated its interpretations of humanity’s dangerous search for meaning; conflict between good and evil; the struggle between individualism and socialism, between science and nature; the capitalistic quest for profits at any cost; and the triumphs and failings of American values.

“Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick” examines the work of six contemporary artists, Corey Arnold, Guy Ben-Ner, Patty Chang, Tristin Lowe, Allan Sekula, and Frank Stella, who act as epic storytellers as they respond to, challenge, and celebrate the allegories presented in Melville’s literary classic through large-scale sculpture, photography, prints, and video made since 1985. These artists were selected for the epic nature of their own searching: the bodies of work on view represent a similar tome-like status in each artist’s oeuvre, they were either painstakingly created over multiple years or were executed on an epic scale warranted by a novel like Moby-Dick. These artists’ work encourages dialogue about ecology and nature, economics and industry, human psychology and emotion.

(text adapted from the curator’s press materials)


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