May 16, 2015–January 2, 2017
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
I set out to recreate Whistler’s fabled Peacock Room in a state of decadent demolition—a space collapsing in on itself, heavy with its own excess and tumultuous history. I imagined it as . . . a vision of both discord and beauty, the once-extravagant interior warped, ruptured.
Filthy Lucre, an immersive installation by painter Darren Waterston, reimagines James McNeill Whistler’s famed Peacock Room—an icon of American art—as a decadent ruin collapsing under the weight of its own creative excess. Forging a link between inventive and destructive forces, Filthy Lucre forms the centerpiece of Peacock Room REMIX, an exhibition that highlights the complicated and often dramatic tensions between art world egos, monetary and aesthetic value, and creative expression.
Peacock Room REMIX offers an unprecedented chance to compare Waterston’s re-creation with the actual Peacock Room, which has been permanently installed in the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art since 1923.
The exhibition opens in the Sackler Gallery on May 16, 2015, and remains on view through December 2016. During that time a series of related installations will be presented alongside Filthy Lucre, beginning with portraits of the Leyland family by Whistler and Waterston’s preparatory studies for Filthy Lucre. A second phase, The Lost Symphony: Whistler and the Perfection of Art (January–May 2016), highlights the history of a never-completed painting by Whistler that Leyland commissioned for the Peacock Room. From June to December 2016 Chinamania explores the enduring craze for Chinese blue-and-white porcelain in the West.
Peacock Room REMIX is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Darren Waterston’s installation Filthy Lucre, 2013–14, was created by the artist in collaboration with MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts.
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