BRATTLEBORO — Why would an artist choose to fill an abandoned psychiatric hospital with 28,000 potted plants and 5,000 square feet of sod? And having decided to do so, how exactly would she go about pulling that off?
Artist Anna Schuleit Haber will answer those questions and more in a free Zoom presentation hosted by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) on Friday, May 28, at 7:30 p.m.
Originally from Mainz, Germany, Haber graduated from the Northfield Mount Hermon School, earned an undergraduate degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a graduate degree in creative writing and book arts from Dartmouth College.
She served as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard, and in 2006 she received a MacArthur “Genius” Award in recognition of the “conceptual clarity, compassion, and beauty” of her work. She lives and works in New Hampshire.
Schuleit Haber's artistic practice encompasses a combination of painting, drawing, installation art, architecture, and time-based media.
Examples of past projects include “The Alphabet,” for which Schuleit Haber, a group of typographers from around the world, and dozens of other collaborators created the front page for the Sentinel & Enterprise, a Fitchburg, Mass., daily newspaper, for 26 days; “The Voice Imitator,” 104 paintings and 104 piano pieces by composer Yotam Haber, based on 104 short stories by Thomas Bernhard; and “Landlines,” a site-specific installation in which 400 acres of woods were wired up with 100 live telephones for 24 hours.
The current BMAC exhibit “All Flowers Keep the Light” includes large-format photographs and a film of Schuleit Haber's installation “Bloom,” for which she filled the abandoned Massachusetts Mental Health Center with potted plants and live sod just prior to its demolition. The work spanned more than 120,000 square feet, including corridors, offices, and a swimming pool.
BMAC previously exhibited Schuleit Haber's work in 2001, when the museum gave the artist her first solo museum show, “When at Last,” which Art New England described as “a complex and completely compelling work that evokes the soon to be demolished Northampton (Mass.) State Hospital.”