A public garden & cultural center

Beatrice Glow

Sunroom Project Space | September 15–October 25, 2015
Van Lier Artist Fellow
 | 2015

Rhunhattan, 2015, acrylic and decal collage on ceramics, ink on paper. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Beatrice Glow uncovers invisible and suppressed stories that lie in the long geopolitical shadows of colonialism and migration. Her practice comprises sculptural installations, trilingual publishing, and lecture and participatory performances. To counter divisive discussions of political and cultural borders, Glow meditates on how all ethnospheres are, like islands, connected beneath the surface. Her research mines the relationship between Asia and the Americas, investigating transpacific economic and cultural circulations, as well as persistent, romanticized notions of the exotic “other.”

Glow’s installation, Rhunhattan, converts the Sun Porch into a tearoom with sights and scents that reference the spice trade, which ushered in an era of globalization. More specifically, Glow seeks to evoke the history of a land exchange that took place in 1667, when the Dutch, eager to monopolize the Spice Islands, swapped Manhattan for Rhun, an island seven times smaller, which had been held by the English. Today, Manhattan is a financial capital, while Rhun, located in what is present-day Indonesia, has faded into obscurity. Inspired by Wave Hill’s greenhouses—spaces Glow sees as designed to tame otherworldly tropical plants—the artist creates an analogous structure, approaching the Sun Porch “as a pristine tearoom that attempts to contain the insanity, greed and desire of commerce.”

On exhibit are dishes decorated with depictions of the atrocities that European traders perpetrated in Rhun at the hands of European traders, as well as cartographical drawings and archival imagery relating to this freighted history. The design of the dishes alludes to the history of exportation from Asia to Europe, particularly Delftware—tin-glazed, blue-and-white pottery made in the Netherlands. Delftware developed in the 17th century; influenced by Chinese porcelain, Dutch potters began imitating the popular style of this luxury Asian import. The space also includes olfactory pieces that exude sweet and pungent scents from objects interspersed throughout the installation. In creating this sensory feast, Glow invites viewers to engage with the dark realities underpinning what she sets up as a gilded tearoom.


Rhunhattan, 2015, installation views, acrylic and decal collage on ceramics, ink on paper, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photos: Stefan Hagen. 

Winter Workspace Program
Glyndor Gallery | February 23–April 11, 2015


Beatrice Glow speaking to visitors during Winter Workspace Open Studios, Wave Hill, 2015. Courtesy of the artist. 

Beatrice Glow has dedicated herself to recreating a trans-Pacific archive of forgotten or suppressed stories. Her practice comprises sculptural installations, publications, oral interviews, and performances. As an alternative to current ideas about globalization, she has focused on the pioneering peoples of Austronesia, the region that encompasses islands from Madagascar to Easter Island.

During her residency in Wave Hill’s Winter Workspace, Glow experiments with concocting and curating scents in order to assemble an aromatic archive. This project alludes to the nutmeg and other spices that were prized by colonialist botanists in the Age of Exploration (15th–18th century). For Glow, the classification of foreign plants mirrors the ethnographic categorization of other peoples in a way that distills cultural origins. Glow’s project seeks to illuminate these contested, fading memories

Artist website

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. 

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