For his first monographic museum exhibition, Devlin will install his 30-year archive on the third floor of the museum. „An Atlas of S Devlin” will feature more than 300 paintings, drawings, illuminated paper cuts and projection-mapped rotating miniature sculptures that form the seeds of some of the most iconic, cultural congregations of music, poetry, art and activism in recent times.
The exhibition includes never-before-seen works, as well as stage designs for the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala and London’s Royal Opera House, Royal Ballet and National Theatre. Featuring paintings, drawings and mechanical cardboard models inspired by the London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony, the 2022 NFL Super Bowl halftime show with Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar, as well as monumental, illuminated stage sculptures by U2oncé. , Rosalia and The Weeknd.
„An Atlas of S Devlin” explores the origins, rigor and depth of Devlin’s process through a compelling journey into his 30-year archive, charting the evolution of form, scale and thought in his practice from teenage drawings and sketches to designs. to theatre, opera, stadium concerts and festivals, to his ongoing engagement with climate and civilizational crises. The exhibition will reveal thematic connections and trace the development of his magnificent medieval architecture.
„Es Devlin’s polymathic practice dissolves the boundaries between art, performance, design, poetry, sculpture, music and architecture,” said Andrea Lips, Associate Curator of Contemporary Design and Head of Digital Collections at Cooper Hewitt. „In an environment created by Devlin himself, this exhibition will immerse visitors in the artist’s studio and archive. Centered on archival artifacts, the exhibition will reveal the remarkable breadth, rigor and reactivity underlying Devlin’s transformative, multifaceted body of work.”
„I’ve been translating words into images and places for 30 years – turning text on a page into moving sculptures that engage the audience with light and song and use magic to transform their perspective,” said Devlin. „My craft is to imagine worlds that do not yet exist, to invite visitors to practice 'intersection’ within psychological structures they have not previously inhabited, to remind visitors that they are not separate, but connected to each other and to the biosphere. For this exhibition, the drawings, fragile paper sculptures that my studio team and I have been making for the past three decades and small-scale rotating cardboard models, I collected a small parallel exercise that is the basis of large-scale public performances. installation works.”
„Cooper Hewitt continues to push boundaries, contributing to a broader definition of what design is today and how it relates to the complex world around us,” said Maria Nicanor, Director of Cooper Hewitt. „Es’ work and his multifaceted practices embody that deep sense of purpose that is so important to communicating with our audience as the nation’s design museum.”
The studio becomes a show
As visitors enter the galleries, they are invited to a replica of Devlin’s London studio, with a table full of tools, materials and work in progress. As the studio lights dim, projections bring the studio’s objects and walls to life, immersing the audience in Devlin’s voice and imagination.
An infinite archive
A large projection of Devlin’s hand appears cut through one of the studio walls, inviting a journey through Devlin’s never-before-seen paintings, drawings, paper sculptures, sketches and rotating cardboard models. Projected images transform many humble cardboard sculptures into replicas of the ultimate large-scale illuminated buildings.
An atlas—a movie
One of the galleries turns into a miniature cinema, engaging visitors with images and footage of Devlin’s installation and performance works.
An infinite library
Devlin’s protean work is rooted in a lifelong practice of reading and drawing, particularly drawing in the margins of texts. The final gallery is filled with the texts that guided Devlin’s work—from plays, lyrics, and opera libretti to fiction, poetry, geo-philosophy, anthropoeconomics, biology, and climate science works that inform his performance sculptures. The root of his artistic practice in the past decade. The texts are brought to life with a collaborative reading program, and visitors are invited to participate in the overall artwork while gaining insights to inform their own practice and purpose.
S. Devlin’s Atlas, Devlin’s first monograph on genre-transcending practice is an empirical publication that encompasses art, performance, drama, poetry, music, dance, opera, and sculpture.
Published by Thames & Hudson, edited by Libs in conjunction with the exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, S Devlin’s Atlas A unique, sculptural volume of over 900 pages including folds, cut-outs and a variety of paper types, mirrors and transparencies. The book features more than 700 color images documenting 120 projects spanning four decades, as well as a 50,000-word text with Devlin’s personal commentary on each artwork and interviews with collaborators including Bono, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brian Eno, Sam Mendes, and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Alice Rawsthorn, Carlo Rovelli, Abel 'The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, Lyndsey Turner and Pharrell Williams. Each book is boxed and has a die-cut print from an edition of 5,000.
Visitors will be invited to engage in hands-on workshops, talks and meetings that focus on changing perspectives, a key objective of Devlin’s work.
„An Atlas of S Devlin” is organized by Andrea Lipps, Associate Curator, Contemporary Design and Chair, Digital Collections and Julie Pastor, Curatorial Assistant.
Exhibition design by S Devlin Studio, with record and fiction designers by Pink Sparrow. Graphic design of Morgos Key.
The exhibition is made possible with major support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer provide generous support. Arthur F Lilly Auchinclose Foundation.
About S Devlin
Devlin creates large-scale sculptural installations that combine light, music and language. His works range from plays, lyrics and opera libretti to his performance sculptures, fiction, poetry, geographical philosophy, anthropological economics, biological and climate science works rooted in a lifetime of reading and drawing. Formed the foundation of his art and activism over the past decade. He treats the audience as a temporary community and encourages profound cognitive changes by inviting public participation in communal songs. His temporary participatory sculptures have been exhibited at Tate Modern, Serpentine, V&A, Barbican, Imperial War Museum and Trafalgar Square.
His monumental 16-metre-tall song sculpture, „Coming Home”, outside Tate Modern attracts 7,000 visitors each day to join various London singers and songs during its display in September 2022. His rotating illuminated sculpture, “Your Voices” will engage audiences in the 700 languages spoken in New York City in December 2022 with the Endangered Languages Alliance.
His sprawling mirrored „Forest of Us” invites viewers to inhabit the visual symmetry between the bronchial structures that allow people to breathe and the branching tree geometry that makes breathing possible. The installation that opened Super Blue Miami in 2020 with new works by James Turrell is still on view.
Devlin’s collaborative AI-generated poetry was launched at Serpentine in 2016 as „Pomportraits” and continues to evolve online. It formed the basis of the UK Pavilion at World Expo 2020, the first building to create a collective poem on its facade every minute.
He has created monumental illuminated stage sculptures for Beyoncé, The Weeknd and U2, The Royal Opera House, National Theatre, La Scala and The Met Opera, and the 2022 NFL Super Bowl Halftime Show for Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. and the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
He was the subject of the Netflix documentary “Abstract: The Art of Design” and is the recipient of multiple Olivier, Tony and Emmy Awards, as well as an Ivor Novello Award and CBE.
About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Cooper Hewitt Design Museum of America. Inclusive, innovative, and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, educational programs, master’s program, publications, and online resources inspire, educate, and empower people through design. Cooper Hewitt is located in the landmark Carnegie House on New York City’s Museum Mile, an integral part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex. One of the world’s most diverse and extensive design collections, with over 215,000 objects – dating from around 1100 BC. From the ancient Egyptian boy’s cup to contemporary 3D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the significance of design. Its power to change the world.
„Totalny pionier w sieci. Specjalista od piwa niezależny. Ewangelista popkultury. Miłośnik muzyki. Nieprzepraszający przedsiębiorca”.