Connected \\ March 19, 2021
A word with Alexis Rockman
Alexis Rockman has spent his career making art about natural history and ecology. At PEM, through May 31, Rockman’s dramatic large-scale oil paintings can be viewed in East India Marine Hall. Next to the museum’s collection of historic figureheads, Alexis Rockman: Shipwrecks asks us to consider the impact of the migration of goods, people, plants and animals on our planet.
Installing Rockman’s paintings in this historic hall is also an opportunity to be reminded of the shadow of potential disaster that hung over every voyage at sea, the threat that made each gathering of the East India Marine Society, PEM’s originating organization, a celebration of the life that its members could not take for granted. Below is an excerpt from our recent conversation in East India Marine Hall.
Alexis Rockman in the gallery for the opening of his exhibition, an environmentally aware perspective of historic shipwrecks. Photo by Dinah Cardin.
Photography by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.
Q: How does it feel to see your work in this space? In East India Marine Hall?
A: It's a dream come true. What could be a more perfect place than to be in a context like this? I’m reading Moby Dick for the first time. I feel like I'm steeped in the culture of, not only shipwrecks, but the eastern seaboard, where I grew up in Manhattan. The South Street Seaport was part of my childhood. It feels like it makes a lot of sense.