Artist Fred Wilson has a dual practice of studio-made or fabricated works and commissioned museum-specific installations created with the institutions’ own collections. At the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Wilson designs one of his signature site-specific installations using the museum’s collection and several loaned items, including from the Oberlin College Archives and the special collections of the Oberlin College Library. Returning the King Sculpture Court to its classical roots, he creates an illusory space of ruin and redemption. Wilson weaves together objects and historical narratives that have flowed in and through Oberlin College over its 183-year history. Wilson’s primary inspiration is one individual of the 19th century and her collision and concurrence with the world of her time. Through Wilson’s abstract lens, her life and legacy reveal questions about 20th-century artistic and scholarly perceptions of what and who are important to be remembered, the burial of marginalized history, and ultimately, the 21st-century unearthing of what he calls the “alluvial fan of human, and art, history.”
Organized in conjunction with the artist by Denise Birkhofer, Ellen Johnson ’33 Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Andria Derstine, John G.W. Cowles Director, with assistance from Alexandra Nicome OC '17.
Fred Wilson with Edmonia Lewis’s Bust of James Peck Thomas, 1874, R. T. Miller Jr. Fund, 2002.3.