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Two-Story Tornado Commissioned and Presented by 21c Museum

LOUISVILLE, KY.- 21c Museum Hotel will unveil a monumental tornado constructed of thousands of silvered glass and gilt hand-carved wooden objects at 21c Museum on June 10. Broken eggs, flashlights, dolls’ heads, turkey basters, and batteries made of wood−as well as found objects made of glass−swirl together to form the massive funnel cloud of the installation, entitled Wheel of Fortune. Artist Anne Peabody, whose work was featured at the 2009 Venice Biennale, drew on her childhood memories of Louisville’s powerful 1974 tornado to conceive and realize the work. Wheel of Fortune − commissioned and presented by 21c Museum − will be on view free of charge at 21c Museum Hotel in conjunction with the 40th annual Glass Art Society (GAS) conference in Louisville this June, and will be on display through October, 2010.

“Anne’s installation transforms 21c Museum Hotel into a space for reflection, not only on the 1974 tornado, but on the larger theme of our society’s value systems,” said William Morrow, Director of 21c Museum. “Her work explores how catastrophic events alter our perception of the objects we live with and the world around us. In Wheel of Fortune mink coats and candelabras mingle with cigarette butts and broken bits of glass, all equally beautiful and equally damaged.”

“I wanted to look at the clash between devastation and beauty, and the unexpected consequences of disaster,” said Peabody. “I started from my own childhood memories of the 1974 tornado, which left my house untouched but my neighborhood devastated and my yard filled with other people’s possessions. While Wheel of Fortune grew out of events in own my life, I want to speak to the experience of anyone touched by the bizarre dislocations of calamity.”

Steel bars of varying shapes and thickness form the interior coil of Wheel of Fortune, which measures 25 feet long diagonally and is approximately 18 feet wide at its broadest point. The thousands of objects, hand-made wooden items and found objects of glass, are each silvered and attached to the understructure to form a dense and coruscating tornado inside the museum. The work will be installed in 21c Museum Hotel’s atrium gallery.

Peabody made the carved wooden objects in Wheel of Fortune by hand and has invited other carvers and wood turners (some of whom lived through the tornado themselves), to contribute pieces for the installation. The glass pieces are primarily found objects as well as items given to her for the work by friends and neighbors.

Wheel of Fortune is commissioned by 21c Museum in conjunction with the 40th annual GAS conference, a three-day event organized by the Glass Arts Society which will bring thousands of visitors to Louisville. The conference unites artists, educators, businesses, galleries, museums, and collectors across the world with a shared interest in the medium of glass.

21c Museum Hotel | Anne Peabody | William Morrow |

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