Dan Peterman, Corridor (sulfur cycle), 2022
Smart Museum of Art
Hi, my name is Shane Rothe. I’m the curatorial research assistant at the Smart
My name is Luis Bettencourt. I’m a professor of ecology and evolution here at the University of Chicago. And I direct the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, which is an institute dedicated to both research and education, but also convening people who are interested in studying cities and urbanization.
We’re here with Luis to talk about Dan Peterman’s “Corridor (sulfur cycle)”
It looks so minimal and so neat. Maybe it could be overlooked, just like we overlook looking at the walls and what they’re made out of. It creates an interesting tension between something’s quite mundane, which is the materials that build the gallery itself. And now those materials becoming content, the thing being shown. It asks you to imagine, in some sense, all the systems by which our societies at large source and circle materials and all the consequences that has for the environment and the world and all the consequences that has for all the futures that we kind of starting to calculate and imagine with a certain apprehension. And so this is the process that I also study, so the idea is very familiar to me. I had no trouble with that. But I think there’s a bit of a shock when you look at the piece, because it’s not there. And this is a wonderful thing that art can do, right? Is to give you a prompt, but then the viewer has to bring to it what they see in it, and what they imagine what the consequences are. So what it asks the viewer is quite maximal. It’s in some sense, also, a view of the world that’s neat and industrial, a bit 20th century world, actually, that we’re trying to build. And perhaps the problems and what the 21st century world—the world that we live in now—means. Which is that we have to deal with all these systems. We have to learn about them and we have to learn to live with them better.
Long Image DescriptionLong descriptions are text versions of the information provided in a detailed or complex image, like the image above.
Seen as a close-up detail from above and at an angle, dozens of sheets of drywall are stacked one on top of another. They are arranged in the photograph so that the right side shows the long edge of each panel, which are covered in a pale gray-white paper. At left, the rough interior material is exposed. At the corners, torn bits of paper stick out from the stack here and there. A thick woven dark gray strap at the far right runs tightly up the side, helping to hold the sheets in place.