Worcester, MA—May 22, 2017— Taiwan-born, New York-based artist Shih Chieh Huang installs his newest, most ambitious immersive environment to date at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) this summer. Reusable Universes: Shih Chieh Huang, a large-scale installation in Huang’s signature improvisational style, draws on the industrial materials of today, such as mass-produced computer cooling fans, LED lights, and plastics. The exhibition opens on June 24 and will be on view through November 12, 2017.
Reusable Universes combines Huang’s longstanding fascination with technology, organic forms and processes, and the materials of modern life to transform mundane manufactured objects into novel and remarkably complex light and kinetic sculptures. For his exhibition at WAM, developed by Assistant Curator of Asian Art Vivian Li, Huang creates a grand sculptural installation consisting of over one hundred various-sized moving elements. Exploiting the gallery’s 18-foot ceilings, Huang’s installation will be more vertical than his previous works, making use of the height to suspend the different elements. Constructed of familiar biomorphic forms and repurposed, widely-available objects, the sculptures reflect the artist’s intense exploration into the emotional responses everyday materials can elicit—from the movement of a thin, windblown piece of plastic to the slow blinking of a bright light.
“With Reusable Universes, we continue an approach to contemporary art that has become a hallmark of our Museum—showcasing emerging international artists, whose works connect to other aspects of the WAM collection and speak to Worcester’s culture and traditions,” said Jon L. Seydl, director of curatorial affairs. “This installation, which ingeniously and seamlessly bridges art and technology, resonates with our city’s rich legacy of innovation and invention.”
In addition to his new work, Huang will create on site an iteration of his Organic Concept, an infinitely scalable sculpture made from rolls of painter’s plastic and box fans. The creation will be a public performance at the Museum on July 20, 2017. Afterwards, Organic Concept will be temporarily installed in the Museum’s Renaissance Court.
Like the artists of the 1920s and 1930s, who were documenting the new industrial landscape of America, Shih Chieh Huang’s work bears witness to the decline of heavy industry in the U.S. and the acceleration of the technology industry into people’s everyday lives globally in the late 20th century. An artist trained in both the traditional visual arts and the emerging field of digital art, Huang’s work provokes the viewer to consider society’s rapidly changing relationship with technology: by constructing grand works of “low-tech” art made from high-tech parts that are intentionally built to look unfinished, Huang endeavors to recapture the curiosity and wonder in early technology that will inspire visitors to likewise experiment and build anew.
Support for Reusable Universes: Shih Chieh Huang has been provided by the Taipei Cultural Center in New York; Lisa Kirby Gibbs, Robin Kirby, and Diana (Kirby) Glimm; and UniBank. Funding has also been provided in part by The Donald and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Program Fund and The John M. Nelson Fund. Media partners are Artscope Magazine and Worcester Magazine.
Public Performance: Organic Concept
Thursday, July 20, 6pm
The public is invited to witness and participate in Shih Chieh Huang’s popular Organic Concept, an infinitely scalable sculpture made from rolls of painter’s plastic and box fans. The installation will be created as an interactive public performance in the Renaissance Court. From 5:30 to 8pm light refreshments and a cash bar will be available. From Friday, July 21 through Sunday, July 23 Organic Concept will be installed for public viewing in the Renaissance Court. The event is free with Museum admission.
Image caption: Shih Chieh Huang, T-24-L, 2017, 8 x 13 x 9 feet, Mixed media. Photo: Megan Paetzhold. Courtesy of the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
About the Worcester Art Museum
Founded in 1896, the Worcester Art Museum’s encyclopedic 37,500 piece collection covers 51 centuries of art. Highlights include the Medieval Chapter House, Renaissance Court, and Worcester Hunt Mosaic, as well as the recently integrated John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection of arms and armor. The Museum is internationally known for its collection of European and American art. It was the first in America to acquire paintings by Monet and Gauguin and one of the first to collect photography. As the first U.S. museum to focus on collaborating with local schools, it has been at the forefront of engaging audiences and giving them a meaningful and personal experience.
The Worcester Art Museum, located at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester, MA, is open Wednesday through Friday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and every third Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $6 for children 4-17, $12 for seniors 65+, and $12 for college students with ID. Members and children under four are free. Admission is free for everyone during the entire month of August. Museum parking is free on a first come, first served basis; street parking is also available. For more information, visit worcesterart.org.