Current Creative Works at Harvard Art Museums Relate to Historic Work at Harvard Museums of Science and Culture
Reflecting on Connecting: A new exhibit of clay spheres sent me back to a long-standing granite sphere by indigenous artists long ago. Here are my photos with quotes from resources that offer background and perspective for viewing the art.
Harvard Art Museums:
“A new site-specific installation by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi creates a space for contemplation and reflection, marking the first outdoor public art display for the Harvard Art Museums” ( quote from Harvard Art Museums, Exhibits) Outdoor Broadway terrace (accessible via the stairs and ramp adjacent to the museums’ Prescott Street entrance) March 18, 2023–June 9, 2024
“Sodi’s practice explores the earth’s elements, marrying age-old traditions of sculpting clay with a contemporary vision of creating simple universal forms that prompt reflection.”( quote from Harvard Art Museums, Exhibits)
“Drawing on centuries-old techniques passed through the Zapotec culture, Sodi works with Oaxacan artisans, using local clay to sculpt each sphere, drying it outside for up to eight months, and then firing it in a kiln built upon a beach.“( quote from Harvard Art Museums, Exhibits)
The resulting terracotta forms reveal the effects of nature’s forces—the sun, sea air, and fire—as demonstrated by the cracks, chips, and blackened and crusty patches that distinguish each sphere. ( quote from Harvard Art Museums, Exhibits)
“In a first for a U.S. installation of the artist’s work, Sodi will also unveil three gold-glazed spheres as part of his site-specific arrangement. Moving from outside to inside the museums, these gold spheres connect to and engage with the meditative atmosphere evoked by the installation of Buddhist figures in Gallery 1610.“( quote from Harvard Art Museums, Exhibits)
Galleries 1600 and 1610 (Level 1):
“Sodi draws inspiration from a variety of cultural and artistic expressions; on the importance of clay for ancient American civilizations, the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi , which values imperfection, as well as more recent moments in the history of art, such as arte povera in Italy, or in Japan: Gutay and Mono-ha ; manifestations that expand the definition of art and its exhibition spaces, while taking advantage of the unpredictability and beauty of nature beyond the white cube. ” (quote from Bosco Sodi’s Saptatathagata Madrid )
Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, Monumental Stone Sphere Pre-Columbian Period Diquis Delta. Costa Rica:
“Nestled between the Peabody Museum and the Tozzer Anthropology building sits a large stone ball on top of a hexagonal, inscribed base. With its opportune setting, this seemingly symmetrical ball inspires wonder and curiosity in many individuals who pass by. However, every object has a history and subsequent impacts on stakeholders. The “Monumental Stone Sphere” is no exception. This StoryMap will delve deep into the historical circumstances, choices of presentation, and stakeholders of this artifact.“( quote from Harvard’s Monumental Stone Sphere by Abigail Cusick, 2021)
“The stone spheres of Costa Rica were produced by the indigenous populations of modern-day Osa, Costa Rica.³ Production of the spheres started around 300 A.D. and persisted until approximately 1500 A.D.⁴ Though it cannot be said for certain why these spheres were made, their attributes and in situ locations illustrate that they were likely significant within society.” ( quote from Harvard’s Monumental Stone Sphere by Abigail Cusick, 2021)
Bosco Sodi: Origen Exhibit at Harvard Art Museums
Monumental Stone Sphere Pre-Columbian Period Diquis Delta. Costa Rica.
Harvard’s Monumental Stone Sphere, A Story of Ownership, Representation, and Choices Abigail Cusick, December 18, 2021
Thanks, Deb! We saw spheres like this in Costa Rica last year and found them intriguing. Great to know we can see this exhibit in our own neighborhood.