Sunroom Project Space 2011
Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh would have liked to explore the Palisades
Sunroom Project Space | April 3—May 8, 2011
Meghan Gordon investigates the merits of the cultural institution as an authoritative source for retelling the past. Gordon’s newest project, created during her Winter Workspace residency, merges marginal fragments of Wave Hill history and reconfigures them through the lens of narrative projection. The crux of Gordon’s Sunroom Project is the artist and explorer Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh (1853-1935), who, at age 17, joined Major John Wesley Powell’s second expedition through the last uncharted segment of the Colorado River. As the expedition’s artist, Dellenbaugh made a continuous drawing of the river’s left bank and helped prepare the first map of the Grand Canyon. Gordon first learned of the artist/explorer while researching the mural in Wave Hill’s Ecology Building, which has been attributed to Dellenbaugh.*
While naming the unknown landforms to be mapped, Dellenbaugh proclaimed that one butte resembled an art gallery, an anecdote that inspired Gordon to create a butte art gallery within the gallery. The interior of this structure recalls the defunct underground tunnel connecting Glyndor House to the Ecology building. Gordon has installed paper tiles that mimic the Guastavino tiles that once lined the tunnel, suggesting the physical connection between the gallery and the mural, the notion of lost or missing history and the institutional desire to fill in the gaps. The structure houses a video that partially retells Dellenbaugh’s adventure. Gordon assumes the role of Edith, a misguided tour guide who uses the Hudson River as an inadequate substitute for the Colorado. On the walls of the Sunroom is Gordon’s recreation of period wallpaper, c. 1865. The painted vignettes are free-hand interpretations of Dellenbaugh’s drawings, which contrast the rigidity of the pattern. The wallpaper highlights the containment of the wilderness and acknowledges the creation of a mediated view of nature.
*The unsigned mural was attributed to Dellenbaugh by William Stiles (1912–80), former curator of the Museum of the American Indian, who analyzed the mural and identified its scenes of Native American life. However, descendants of George W. Perkins, who commissioned the mural in 1909, believe that it was painted by Howard McCormick (1875–1943).
The following three images are installation views of Meghan Gordon's Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh would have liked to explore the Palisades, 2011.
Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh would have liked to explore the Palisades, 2011 Production still; photo by Craig Gordon.
Winter Workspace Program 2011
Glyndor Gallery | February 15 – March 27, 2011
Meghan Gordon’s work investigates the merits of the museum as an authoritative source. She is conducting research on the artist and explorer Frederick S. Dellenbaugh (1853–1935) to whom the historic mural in Wave Hill’s Ecology Building is attributed.
Replacement Wood-Burning Stove for Edwin Dickinson’s Studio
Paper, glue, graphite, flocking, spray paint, foam board
Salvatore Scibona’s Typewriter (on which he wrote his highly acclaimed novel, THE END), 2009
Photocopies, glue, 5” x 13” x 11”
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.