Wall at WAM: Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, These Days of Maiuma (detail from Wall at WAM), 2013, inkjet, 17 x 67 feet. Courtesy of the artists and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Now on View
The collaborative husband and wife team of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison has been commissioned to create the 10th mural for the Museum's Wall at WAM series. Their staged photography involves performance, sculptural props, elaborate backdrops, and digital technology. Sepia-toned images from their critically acclaimed series, The Architect's Brother (1993-2005), raised questions about Earth's vulnerability, human responsibility, and destiny. Subsequent work has displayed an overt and expressive use of color, surrealistic imagery, and more open-ended narratives that explore the interconnectedness of nature, humans, and technology.
The Wall at WAM mural is installed on a second-story, 67-foot expanse situated in the most public of the Museum's galleries, a faux Renaissance-style court, and overlooking a 6th-century Roman mosaic from Antioch. The ParkeHarrison's inkjet mural, These Days of Maiuma, with its iconography of the remains of a grand feast and its themes of contemporary wealth, decadence, and disregard for the environment, is intended to be a visual and conceptual counterpoint to the Worcester Hunt mosaic. The floor mosaic was once the site of many a feast by Antiochenes in an ancient city known for its lifestyle of sophistication, affluence, and excess. Both compositions, although separated in time by 15 centuries, are characterized by a complex embrace of the real and the imagined and afford us two compelling visualizations of humans' relations to their world, then and now.
The ParkeHarrisons have developed their collaboration over the past 16 years and in 2000 publicly acknowledged co-authorship of their images. A traveling exhibition of The Architect's Brother toured from 2002-2008 to sites in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Recent solo museum exhibitions included the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City and the Gallery of Photography, Dublin. Their work is in numerous private and public collections. They are represented in New York by Jack Shainman Gallery.
This project is supported by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund. Additional generous support provided by David and Marlene Persky and an anonymous donor.