Release Date: October 20,2017

Artist Rachel Sussman to fill cracks in Akron Art Museum floor with gold

Acclaimed artist Rachel Sussman, widely known for her New York Times best-selling book chronicling her decade-long project The Oldest Living Things in the World, will talk about the intersection of science, beauty and time in her work as part of the Synapse Lecture series at the Akron Art Museum on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 6:30 P.M. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Photographs from Sussman’s Sidewalk Kintsukuroi series are currently on view at the Akron Art Museum as part of Alchemy: Transformations in Gold. The artist will create a new, unique installation in the museum’s Beatrice Knapp McDowell Grand Lobby, filling cracks in the cement floor with gold. 

Associate Curator Theresa Bembnister said, “Rachel Sussman’s installation should take visitors by surprise. She will ‘repair’ a system of cracks in the museum lobby floor using a Japanese technique known as kintsukuroi, in which broken ceramics are repaired with gold. Rather than disguise cracks or breakage, kintsukuroi is meant to honor a repair as part of an object’s history.”

Sussman will fill the cracks with a mixture of tree sap-based resin, bronze dust and 23.5 carat gold. The resulting artwork will remain part of the museum’s floor for years to come. Since gold and resin are extremely durable materials, the portion of the floor that Sussman transforms will remain open to foot traffic once the artist’s work is completed.

The artist encountered the concept of kintsukuroi after the release of her New York Times bestselling book, The Oldest Living Things in the World. For that project, Sussman traveled the world to photograph organisms that have been alive for millennia, such as 5,500-year-old Antarctic Moss or the otherworldly Welwitschia mirabilis plants of Namibia, which may be up to 2,000 years old. The Oldest Living Things project highlights the beauty of transformation caused by the passage of time—changes that Sussman celebrates through her photography. With its reverence for an object’s history, the practice of kintsukuroi was a natural step for the artist.

Sussman is a Guggenheim, NYFA and MacDowell Colony Fellow and two-time TED speaker. She is currently an artist in residence with the SETI Institute. Her exhibition record spans more than a decade in museums and galleries in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. With the support of the LACMA Lab, and working with SpaceX, NASA and CERN, her new work has been exhibited at MASS MoCA, the New Museum Los Gatos and the Des Moines Art Center.

Additional Artist Talks at the Akron Art Museum
Artists whose work is on view in the Akron Art Museum exhibition Heavy Metal, as well as artists-in-residence at the Akron Soul Train, will visit on Thursdays from November 2017 through February 2018 to present a series of gallery talks about their work. The gallery talks begin at 6:30 P.M. and are free and open to all:

October 19 • Akron Soul Train Fellow, Michelle Droll

November 9 • Akron Soul Train Fellow, Jenniffer Omaitz

November 16 • Kent State University Assistant Professor of Art, Mahwish Chishty

December 7 • Cleveland Institute of Art Adjunct Faculty, Printmaking & Painting Departments, Corrie Slawson

January 4 • Cleveland Institute of Art Professor of Jewelry and Metals, Kathy Buszkiewicz

January 18 • University of Akron Associate Professor, Metalsmithing Area Coordinator, Sherry Simms

February 1 • Cleveland Institute of Art Associate Professor and Chair of Sculpture and Expanded Media, Sarah Paul