Uncertain Beauty

IMG_7697Photo: Olympia Shannon

Darren Waterston’s exhibition Uncertain Beauty, of paintings, studies and drawings alongside his major installation, Filthy Lucre (above) opened today at MASS MoCA. It’s a wonderful exhibition and well worth a visit. Below, Darren is working on a mural of fighting peacocks that represent the artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) and his patron, British shipping magnate Frederick Leyland. Here’s a link to an article in the Berkshire Eagle that explains more about Filthy Lucre. It’s a complex and thoughtful work of art.

IMG_7708Photo: Olympia Shannon

I was onsite at MASS MoCA for just a few weeks, faux-painting interior surfaces and creating gold texture on  spindly wooden shelving supports. I used my standard glasspainting tools and techniques with with thick acrylic. It drove my mark-making up a notch, literally, into the third dimension; applying paint with a trowel, then combing and tooling to create rhythmic, low-relief patterns that catch and scatter the light from the stained glass lamps.

The lamps were my major contribution to this installation. Like everything else inside Filthy Lucre  the design is loosely based on Whistler’s 19th century original. Darren did the glasspainting himself during a visit to my studio.

Around a dozen artists and artisans worked alongside MASS MoCA’s phenomenal in-house art fabrication team (of course, I’m biased!) over a 8 month period on the creation of Filthy Lucre. Here’s my very own Richard Criddle and his crew installing the ceiling and lamps.

IMG_7091Photo: Olympia Shannon

IMG_7093Photo: Olympia Shannon


Thanks to MASS MoCA’s Olympia Shannon for some lovely photos. There are more on Darren Waterston’s own blog about the making of Filthy Lucre, and his website darrenwaterston.com


What: Uncertain Beauty – art by Darren Waterston featuring Filthy Lucre, a recreation of James McNeill Whistler’s Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room.

Where: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, Massachusetts
March 8, 2014 – February 1, 2015
Opening Reception: March 29, 2013

Performance by Filthy Lucre soundscape composers BETTY: Saturday, March 22, 8pm
Artist talk: Thursday, August 7, 6pm

Filthy Lucre will travel to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, opening July 1, 2015

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