This print was created from a photograph of a painting by Maurizio Cannacacciuolo (Artist-in-Residence, 2003) to commemorate the ephemeral site-specific work titled A Lecture on Martian History, installed on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade from June 2016 to January 2017.
A native of Naples, Maurizio Cannavacciuolo lived and traveled extensively in Asia, especially India and Thailand. His art explores the overlap and divergence of cultural influences in contemporary society.
Isabella Stewart Gardner’s passion for the sumptuous look and feel of textiles can be felt throughout the Museum. She surrounded works of art with fabrics of different colors and patterns, creating particular moods for each installation. Maurizio Cannavacciuolo, too, treats patterns and color in a very eclectic fashion. Designs inspired by Edo textiles from Japan and Cuban tiles from Old Havana in this Façade are all part of the artist’s multicultural vision. The elaborately overlapping drawings and patterns relate a science fiction narrative, drawing on cultural trivia, emotion, and aesthetics to deliver a witty and provocative message about life, culture, and consumption in the 21st century.
In this installation, the colonization of Earth by Martians is told generations later by a many-armed teacher, the product of Human-Martian interbreeding. In the early years of the invasion, when the Martians entered the empty Human houses, they discovered flickering television sets. They were fascinated by the hypnotic, repetitive images, white noise, and static emitted by the blank screens. The Television becomes a Martian cult object. Five vignettes tell a part of the story including a scene set in a fictional performance hall at the Gardner Museum.
Cannavacciuolo first came to the Gardner Museum in 2003 as an Artist-in-Residence. He returned in February 2004 and spent five weeks creating TV Dinner, an elaborate two-part wall drawing in the Museum’s special exhibition gallery. He is the eighth artist to be invited to do a work for the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade.
There are one hundred numbered prints in in the edition. Each edition print is numbered and pencil signed on the front by the artist and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.