Press

PEM LAUNCHES CONTEMPORARY ART INITIATIVE

Released September 27, 2010

FreePort [No. 001] features installation by Charles Sandison

figurehead

 

"The job of the artist is not to invent something new but to reveal what already surrounds us." - Charles Sandison

SALEM, MA -- The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) launches FreePort, its newest contemporary art initiative, with a commission by internationally renowned artist Charles Sandison. Figurehead, opening 2 October 2010, activates handwritten words from 18th-century ship logs and journals, creating an immersive environment of swirling, luminous language. Inspired by PEM's 18th-century origins in global trade, Sandison gives poetic visual form to the thoughts and aspirations of America's first global entrepreneurs in East India Marine Hall. The elegant neoclassical room - PEM's original display hall - features immense sculptures from the prows of vessels that once set sail from Salem harbor.

Working at the intersection of visual art and computer programming, he uses his own customized software to map trajectories around the room; the projected images respond to algorithms that guide their behavior. In Figurehead, Sandison's algorithms draw on real-time weather data from the internet, making the installation organic and ever-evolving.

Organized by PEM's curator of contemporary art, Trevor Smith, the installation is the first in a series of projects inviting artists to establish a unique dialogue with the museum and its visitors. "Each year, we'll work with artists and our audience to explore the effects of global give-and-take on our culture," says Smith. "For over 200 years," Smith says, "PEM has been tracing the ways in which trade, exchange and translation drive cultural change. This is something unique to our museum. These are also the questions that contemporary art explores."

EXHIBITION LAUNCH PARTY ­­-- FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2010
COME CELEBRATE THE KICK-OFF OF FREEPORT AT PEM!

Meet artist Charles Sandison and curator Trevor Smith.  Become part of the art and dance through a galazy of words.


8:30 PM - Welcoming remarks | Music and dancing with DJ Flack
Admission FREE | Cash bar and dessert | Attire: Cocktail/Contemporary

UPCOMING FREEPORT PROJECTS
     MARIANNE MUELLER: FREEPORT [No. 002], Spring 2011
     SUSAN PHILIPSZ: FREEPORT [No. 003], Summer 2011
     PETER HUTTON: FREEPORT [No. 004], Autumn 2011

EXHIBITION CREDITS

Exhibition made possible in part by donors to the FreePort Fund: Terry and Dick Albright, Jeffrey Beale, Heather Cairns, Raj Malhotra/Art 2020 and Nancy Tieken.  The FreePort Host Committee: Sam and Tracey Byrne, Darrell and Nancy Crate, Kim and Jon Guerster, Sean and Kerry Healey, Tom and Monica Healey, Jay and Kate Horgen, and Jeffrey F. Rayport and Hillary Hedges Rayport. Additional support provided by ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations) and the East India Marine Associates (EIMA) of the Peabody Essex Museum.

ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM

The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum's collections are among the finest of their kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collections, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions and a hands-on education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.

HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit our Web site at www.pem.org.

 

PR Contacts:

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Manager of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3228  -  whitney_vandyke@pem.org

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