Museum Studies 2: Richard Long
April 12, 1994 - November 21, 1994Richard Long is scheduled to make a monumentally-scaled drawing directly on the vast wall facing the Museum's West Entrance foyer. Long (born 1945), is arguably the most important British artist of his generation. He has never exhibited in Philadelphia before, although Museum audiences are familiar with his work through a drawing, Mud Foot Circles, and a sculpture, Limestone Circle, in the permanent collection. Long has selected this enormous surface as the site for one of his largest drawings to date, Red Mud Circle, which will greet visitors as they enter the Museum. The drawing exemplifies Long's use of natural materials ordered in basic geometric shapes. For this occasion he will use terracotta slip, a thick, creamy mixture of clay and water, which he spreads in handfuls directly on the wall. His choice of the pink terracotta on a white ground responds in part to the warm light tone of the Kasota limestone from which the Museum building is constructed. Mud and clay have particular resonance for Long as the meeting place between the two basic components of the earth--water and stone--the basic materials of much of his work. Mud also metaphorically suggests the association of the terrestrial and celestial realms, as it is produced by the abrasive action of tides, which are in turn controlled by lunar cycles. This will be the second in the new "Museum Studies" series of innovative projects created by contemporary artists for the Museum. The drawing will remain up through the summer, temporarily replacing the Chagall theater backdrop that currently hangs there.
John B. Ravenal