Alexis Rockman, Manifest Destiny, 2003–2004, oil and acrylic on wood. ©Alexis Rockman
Alexis Rockman's monumental painting, Manifest Destiny, has just been approved for acquisition. The painting is made up of four contiguous panels that extend twenty-four feet in length, and depicts the Brooklyn waterfront several hundred years in the future. The work feels like the perfect summation of Rockman's intense probing of the natural world, and the unnatural things that man has done to that world since the age of industry. According to Joanna Marsh, The James Dicke Curator for Contemporary Art, "In addition to being a technical tour-de-force, [Manifest Destiny] represents four years of intensive research and collaboration with engineers, architects and climatologists. It is a painting steeped in art historical reference, but profoundly forward-looking. The Smithsonian American Art Museum offers an ideal context for such a multivalent work, and the Smithsonian-wide emphasis on natural science and biodiversity affords a still richer framework for understanding it."
You have less than a week to catch the exhibition, Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow, which closes on Sunday, May 8. In addition to Manifest Destiny, you can see 46 other paintings that have created a transformative experience in the museum.