The work of artist David Hartt (Canadian, born 1967) investigates the specificity of place. By examining the culture and built environment of a given locale, Hartt observes how the needs and values of communities form, manifest, and change over time.
For Interval, Hartt selected two sites of relative economic and geographic isolation: Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon and Sakhalin Island, a Russian territory at the tip of the Japanese archipelago. The exhibition consists of essayistic films and photographs shot in both places. Accompanying these are a score by composer Mitchell Akiyama and a curtain wall structure simulating the reflective exterior of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, a postmodernist icon and the initial venue for this project.
Hartt chose each location—Whitehorse and Sakhalin—according to a specific cultural source. In 1967 Canadian pianist Glenn Gould made a radio documentary, The Idea of North, that featured anthropologist and geographer James Lotz recounting his experiences in Whitehorse while making a report on the living conditions of itinerant workers and aboriginal peoples there. Writer Anton Chekhov penned The Island: A Journey to Sakhalin, also a documentary account, after traveling in 1890 to the historically contested territory, then a Russian penal colony.
The title, Interval, refers to a musical term for the harmonic result of two notes struck simultaneously, and more generally to temporal and spatial displacement. Both Gould and Chekhov focused on the periphery of their respective societies in order to comment on the center, an approach Hartt employs to explore the hybrid identities of sites and individuals in a globalized world.
Sponsors David Hartt: Interval was produced and debuted as part of LAXART’s Occasional.
Support of David Hartt: Interval at the Art Institute of Chicago has been generously provided by the Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation and Anne L. Kaplan.
Additional support has been contributed by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
In-kind support is provided by Dirk Denison Architects, Alliance Glazing Technologies, Inc., and Kawneer North America.
3 hours 15 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago #TBT 1996: A lion’s job is never done. The Art Institute’s faithful companions look over Michigan Avenue, 103 years after they first arrived at the museum.
7 hours 15 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—The Shogun’s World: Japanese Maps from the 18th and 19th Centuries
Now on view in Gallery 107, The Shogun's World showcases the distinct beauty of Japanese mapmaking. These heavily image-based maps occasionally explore spiritual landscapes in addition to physical geography. The importance of spirituality in this tradition is shown in this detail from a mid-19th century map of Yokohama Harbor, where the legend color-codes not only landmarks like Buddhist temples, foreigners’ residences, and stone bridges, but also the locations of spiritually significant trees and rocks.