“America” (2013), a full-scale replica of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood log cabin that Will Ryman constructed out of chains, bullets, pills, assorted electronic components, jewelry, keyboard keys, and other assorted consumer flotsam, all coated in shiny gold paint, has been acquired by the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), where the work will go on view Friday evening. The artist will be on hand to introduce the enormous artwork, along wit NOMA’s curator of modern and contemporary art Miranda Lash, Friday at 6pm.
The artwork made its debut at Paul Kasmin Gallery in February and is the second major acquisition for NOMA this month, following the the 20-foot-tall Roy Lichtenstein sculpture “Five Brushstrokes.” That 20-foot-tall piece and Ryman’s similarly large artwork — “America” is 14 feet wide, 14 feet long, and 13 feet tall — were both gifted to the museum by Sydney and Walda Besthoff.
“We are delighted to have this important work by Will Ryman for NOMA. Once again, Sydney and Walda Besthoff have made a significant acquisition possible,” said Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “Ryman’s work embodies the complexity of American history and provides a point of departure and discussion. It joins other important works in the collection and creates an opportunity for meaningful programming and curricular initiatives.”
— Benjamin Sutton
(Photos by the author.)