Exhibition Guide: The Other Four
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The Weisman Art Museum presents The Other Four, a varied display of contemporary artists whose work draws on our sense of smell, taste, touch, and sound. The show seeks to explore the richness of the human experience and engage audiences through primarily nonvisual means. Featured works bring our attention to these four, often upstaged, senses and open up a vast realm of experiences that are usually overshadowed by our visual programming—even if only for the moments we are in the exhibition.

Curated by John Schuerman, The Other Four captures the spirit of regionally-based avant-garde artists who are experimenting and producing nonvisual, sensory art. 

Utilize this guide to navigate the exhibition. Each digital label below includes a verbal description of the piece's accompanying label text. 

Audio file
Listen to the introductory text for this exhibition. 

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Kate Casanova (American, born 1982)

Sensory Seat for Porous Beings, 2023. Wood, electronic components, silicone casts of various textural forms, audio of an ant colony, a cat purring, and clay dissolving in water. Lent by the artist.

A simply constructed, natural pine bench with gelatinous, multi-colored sculptures laid on either side. The sculptural elements invite touch as they are highly textural.
Kate Casanova, Sensory Seat for Porous Beings, 2023. Installation view.

⚠️ Allergen Warning: Silicone 

Sit on this bench and feel its components with your hands.

Kate Casanova’s sculptures confound the distinctions we often make between inanimate objects and animate beings and between organic matter and synthetic materials. In Sensory Seat for Porous Beings, silicone casts of highly textured objects appear to fuse into a pair of organisms that attach to either side of a wooden bench like parasites. Their sweet pastel colors invoke taste, while their yielding surfaces invite touch. Still, we are not always sure what we are touching, as mysterious protuberances occasionally sprout from recognizable things, like the bottom of a shoe. Such ambiguity and visceral appeal also characterize the sound collage that emerges from underneath the bench.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Kate Casanova's Sensory Seat for Porous Beings, 2023.


David Bowen (American, born 1975)

David Bowen, the other side, 2019. Mixed media. Lent by the artist.

Carefully touch the pink panels to feel the shape of “the other side” of the world.

In the other side, David Bowen leverages advanced technology to enable us to touch the seemingly untouchable. Using the GPS coordinates of the Weisman Art Museum and satellite data from NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System, the installation captures a live image of the opposite side of the Earth from the gallery—its so-called antipode, located in the Southern Indian Ocean. This image of cloud formations and ocean surface conditions is then converted into a relief model, which is sent to a computer numerical machine attached to the ceiling that carves the relief in pink foam. A new carving is created and displayed on the gallery wall every week. Through this tangible application of publicly available data, the other side offers an alternative, possibly more inclusive model of environmental research.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of David Bowen's artwork the other side, 2018. 

Wendy Fernstrum (American, born 1961)

Wendy Fernstrum, Common Scents, 2023. Mixed media. Lent by the artist.

Bottles of scents drawn from life experiences, part of an installation by Wendy Fernstrum
Wendy Fernstrum, Common Scents, 2023.

Carefully lift the bottle and uncork to smell the contents. Recork and replace the bottle when finished. Do not pour or ingest the liquids.

Unlike sights and sounds, smells enter the body and travel directly to the older parts of the brain that regulate emotions and episodic memory, bypassing the brain’s thalamus with its higherorder processing via logic and language. As a consequence, in the words of writer Jude Stewart, “smell transports us instantly into a past scene, rolling the cinematic tape complete with feelings and a sense of embodiment that can be upsettingly ‘live.’” The power of smell to inspire deeply personal memories raises the question of whether smell is a “common sense” like vision is thought to be—whether the meaning of a smell can be shared. In Common Scents, Wendy Fernstrum slyly addresses this issue. The clichés and proverbial figures of speech that label each bottle suggest universal experiences, but our personal reactions to each scent may contradict or challenge the artist’s associations.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Wendy Fernstrum's Common Scents, 2023

Artist Interview

WAM Student Worker, Jude Pettit interviewed Wendy Fernstrum in early 2024. Below is an audio recording and transcript of this interview.  

Audio file
Listen to an interview between Student Worker Jude Pettit and Wendy Fernstrum. 

Jude Pettit: If you wouldn't mind just giving a short little introduction. Just with your name, and maybe a short description of your art practices.

Wendy Fernstrum: Sure. My name is Wendy Fernstrum, and I'm a writer and a visual artist. My primary medium is artist books. But I'm also a printmaker, and I dabble a little bit in print, in painting, and drawing. And then for this exhibition I actually have a 3D piece. In that there's some words on it. But there's no book to open. There's no, there's no paper—so it's a different form, more sculptural.

JP: Wonderful. And if you could pick three words to encapsulate your artistic practice and vision, what would they be?

WF: The first word that comes to mind is curiosity. I'm very curious about a lot of things. And maybe an image that I can use to describe. That is...when I go to a cabin where I stay at, sometimes I look out of the patio and in the morning sometimes I can see like a single strand of a spider web as the wind comes in and the light hits it and then it disappears. I'm really curious about like, how many like strands of that are in our world, and we don't even know like there's so much about the unseen that I wonder about and am curious about. So the second word would be connection. What are the different connections that we aren't aware of? And then the third word would be consciousness. I feel like we are often sleepwalking through life. Rumi says, you know, "don't go back to sleep". So I'm in my work. I'm encouraging myself and others to have a increased awareness of what is around us, and how we might be connected.

JP: Wonderful! And going off the thread of consciousness. Your piece Common Scents explores the idea that, by becoming more consciously aware of our sense of smell and the information that sensory input brings can enhance our "common sense". In your practice as a print maker are there other senses that you're trying to evoke?

WF: I would say that through the artist books...definitely the sense of touch. There's a intimacy of with this piece in The Other Four where you pick up the bottle, and you uncork it in, and you smell so there's an intimacy that's common to my artist books, where, you know, an individual picks up a book... and even though I'm encouraging a certain pace, it's really up to the viewer, the reader to determine their own pace. They're turning the pages, and then they're holding something. So it's like they enter. They enter into their own little world that is shared between me and them. So there's the sense of touch and then there's the, you know, like maybe a another dimension of sense, of maybe a sense of connection.

JP: And while you are an artist, you're also a spiritual director. And how have your different careers informed each other?

WF: Well, as a spiritual director? I'm I'm creating a space where I'm offering deep listening to whoever I'm meeting with and when I am working on my art, I feel like there's also a deep listening. So it's a lot quieter, and it's not so obvious. But I'm I'm in relationship with with whatever I'm creating. And then, whatever is beyond me. You know, like the universe, the divine, or whatever that is coming into me, and then through me. So the spiritual direction in the, in the making of art, I feel, are very closely connected in in that process, and it requires a lot of setting aside the ego and really trying to settle into what is it that is coming into me and and really deep listening.

JP: And while while both of your careers do inform each other, do you have any advice for younger artists who are seeking to find a balance between their artistic practices and other endeavors outside of art?

WF: Well, if we're talking about like making a living. I would say that it's definitely possible to have that balance. I think I've only had in my entire career, my art career, a few months where I didn't work here and there. Go for residence here, whatever, so it's very possible. And there are some advantages in that. I feel like I have a lot more freedom to create whatever it is I want because I'm not worried about selling it. I appreciate that. But then, you know, the work does take more time and pulls me out of the studio. So it really is a balance. Try to choose endeavors that are compatible with making art. So, for instance, making a living, maybe work part time or freelance, so that you're not full time. And then, one thing that I would have appreciated hearing when I was younger is learn how to live simply because that can really help. Don't get caught up in buying houses and fancy cars and all that. Just find enjoyment, pleasure, and satisfaction in the making of art.

JP: And finally, your work featured in the exhibit The Other Four invites viewers to interact with and smell the contents of your object. How does this deconstruction of the expected conduct in the museum, and the encouragement of engagement, connect to your own practice, both in regards to your art and other aspects of your life?

WF: Well, like I talked about with the artist books when I display them at an exhibition, sometimes, they have to be behind glass, just because maybe they're too delicate. But I really prefer my my work to be out and available to the public to engage with because that's a part of the experience. It's really hard to get a sense of the piece when it's under glass, so that intimacy is shared with my artist books.And then in terms of just like my life, I really encourage the unexpected. I gave up my car two and a half years ago as a gift to the environment and and a gift to humanity. So I'm often on a bus or on the light rail and all kinds of things can happen. And so I relish that. Sometimes they're not all that great, but a lot of times they're just really beautiful, unexpected moments that wouldn't happen if I were in a car. 


Yevgeniya Kaganovich (American, born 1975 in Belarus)

Yevgeniya Kaganovich, hand piece-glove-1, hand piece-2 and hand piece-3 from the Solidified Gesture Specimen/Hypered Experience Device series, 2002. Latex, steel pins, food coloring, stainless steel. Lent by the artist.

a mitten-shaped red glove studded with hundreds of nails
Yevgeniya Kaganovich, hand piece-glove-1, from the Solidified Gesture Specimen/Hypered Experience Device series, 2002

⚠️ Allergen Warning: Latex

Gently touch the hand pieces. You may lay them lightly on your hands. Return them to their bases. 

A professor of jewelry and metalsmithing with commercial experience, Yevgeniya Kaganovich makes wearable sculptures. Far from the luxury objects and precious metals typically used by a trained jeweler, Kaganovich works with primarily found and repurposed materials, welding them together to create enigmatic devices for relational self-awareness. For hand piece–glove–1, Kaganovich crocheted a glove from stainless steel wire in what she described as an absurdly painful process. To create hand piece–2 and red hand piece–3, she made a mold of her own hand, covered it in pieces of pantihose, layered the fabric with latex and food coloring, and pierced the resulting object with hundreds of steel pins. Our awkwardness in trying to figure out how to wear these incomplete gloves is anticipated by the artist, who also intentionally offers subtle surprises, such as the brittle softness felt when touching the mass of sharp-looking pins.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Yevgeniya Kaganovich's hand piece-glove-1, from the Solidified Gesture Specimen/Hypered Experience Device series, 2002

Liza Sylvestre (American, born 1983)

Liza Sylvestre, Taste and Smell Survey, 2023. Wood, edible elements, organic material, paper and pen, sensory experiences. Lent by the artist.

⚠️ Allergen Warning: Soy, Dairy

After tasting or smelling an item, write or draw a response or reaction and place it in the pedestal. Dispose of wrappers in the provided receptacle.

Liza Sylvestre’s art centers on her experience as a deaf person in a society that often overlooks disability or regards it as a curiosity. In Taste and Smell Survey, the artist turns the tables. She writes:

As a deaf person I’m often asked to explain what things sound like in my experience. “What does music sound like?” is a question I receive often when people first learn about my hearing loss. Because the world sounds “normal” to me, and I’m not able to experience what I do not have access to, I usually answer this question by asking the same question to whoever is inquiring.

The question “What does music sound like?” should be challenging for anyone to answer: translating one medium (sound) into another (words) is far from straightforward, if not impossible. Mainstream culture has a less defined vocabulary for tastes and smells, so the task of translation is especially confounding for these senses, which is precisely what makes Taste and Smell Survey such a valuable exercise. By refusing to label the substances presented, Taste and Smell Survey requires our trust but promises to gather a raucous multiplicity of descriptions that better and more accurately reflect the true extensive range of ordinary sensory experience across bodies and subjectivities.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Liza Sylvestre’s Taste and Smell Survey, 2023

Ken Steinbach (American, born 1961)

Ken Steinbach, I Love Only You, 2023. Metal coins, mechanical coin dropping device. Lent by the artist.

Two silver "commemorative" coins with the artist's profile surrounded by stars (on one side) and the words "I love only you" on the other side.

If you hear a coin drop or see one on the floor, take it with you.

The coins that drop from the ceiling in this installation were designed by Ken Steinbach and minted in Elk River, Minnesota, along with more conventional commemorative coins. On one side they feature the artist’s self-portrait, here rendered in profile and deified by surrounding stars. On the reverse side of the coin the artist professes an exclusive love for “you.” Like other works in this exhibition, Steinbach’s installation is deliberately ambiguous in tone, meaning, and value. It is up to you to decide whether the artwork makes counterfeit promises or sustains profound reflection—or both.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Ken Steinbach's I Love Only You, 2023

David Andree (Red Lake Nation and American, born 1983)

David Andree, Land Harp (Hay Creek), 2019. 8-channel tactile-audio installation (electronics, audio cables, bone-conduction transducers). Lent by the artist.

Harp strings attached to a wood and metal piece are submerged in forest stream, surrounded by moss and logs.
David Andree, Land Harp, 2019

Select one or more transducers and press them onto yourself.

David Andree enlists natural elements as collaborators in the making of site-specific works of art, often setting up situations where these elements seem to record themselves in the course of their ordinary activities. One of Andree’s methods involves making what he calls “land harps”–large-scale, open-form musical instruments composed of tuning machines and piano strings that are stretched across a moving body of water and secured to rocks. Contact mics inside the tuning machines record the sound of the current as it vibrates the strings. As the current ebbs and flows, and as objects like leaves or trash make chance contact with the strings, the sounds on the recording change pitch.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of David Andree's Land Harp, 2019

Artist Interview

WAM Student Tour Guide, José Miguel Manrique interviewed David Andree in early 2024. Below is an audio recording and transcript of this interview.  

Audio file
Listen to WAM's Student Tour Guide José Miguel Manrique interviewing David Andree about his work.

José Miguel Manrique: With me today is David Andree, one of the collaborating artists for the Weisman Art Museum's exhibition The Other Four. How are you today, Mr Andree?

David Andree: I'm doing wonderful.

JMM: Awesome. Well, then we'll just get going right away. Your work often involves in some form or another the environment in its natural state. How did you become interested in landscapes?

DA: It's a good question. What attracts me to landscape is it's persistent and slow change. Like nothing feels static or understood. I feel like whenever I'm in the landscape. I'm persistently encountering something new and exciting. I feel like it's always so complex for all the senses as well. Vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell. I think this is one of the reason I became really interested in John's curatorial vision for the exhibition. Inviting us to connect with all of our sentences available as valuable and meaningful. 

JMM: Yeah, so it's those small details that invite you in, into those patterns or cycles. And actually talking about that, well, why look at those things that make you interested? Why look at repeating cycles of nature or moments within them, what is so important to you about those?

DA: Sure. I feel like when I engage with the vastness of a landscape, I feel like a connection to distant time. Geological time, generational time. Time spans that are much larger than any individuals lifespan. I feel like this shifts my thinking to larger systems relating to land. Land is inherently tied up with our own history and our own actions: ecology, culture, politics. For me, landscape enables engagement with this immensity.

JMM: Hmm. It is so interesting. So it's a connection of the landscape and something that was already there, something natural with our world. The human world, in a sense. Is that what you hope to learn or achieve when exposing others to the resulting audio of this, in the river, or do you hope to expose something else, a new reality that you hope to maybe bring up to people?

DA: It's interesting. I feel like with the Land Harp project, I hope the project provides a unique and captivating way to engage with what might be otherwise ordinary or easily overlooked actions in the landscape. So in this case, it's like gravity's influence on water, creating a sound composition. I guess I'm interested in how that experience is felt and what that illuminates for others. 

JMM: Yeah, for sure. Hmm. And to bring that into the world. Well, that requires a lot of different skills, right? Because you will have to bring that, in your installation...Well, you work with a lot of different things to bring that to the viewer, or to the consumer, to the audience. So this work of yours, you describe in your online portfolio as both a visual installation and a sonic instrument. And as such it's not only requires an artistic vision but also an understanding of music and sound on a professional level that you talk about as pitch, tension, recording, and equalizing.

So I wanted to ask you what advice do you have for others who want to connect their art with different disciplines and create unique or meaningful experiences like the one you bring in the exhibition.

DA: Good question. I mean, I think the way that I ultimately found myself with the kind of working conditions of this project was the impulse to take an idea for one discipline and try to push it into another. So the Land Harp project started out as a visual idea. It started out as a set of drawings and paintings, which was a very simple idea of a kind of like hard line against a soft kind of amorphous shape. And I became interested in what if I just take this really simple visual idea and bring it to the landscape. I started stretching string in the landscape as a kind of installation activity and, reflecting on it, I thought it looked very instrument like and I became curious as to what if I actually created something that did function, sonically, what would that look like? How could know, what would that whole process be and what would the results be. So, I was kind of just looking to kind of almost be surprised myself in terms of how the project might come together.

So in some ways, maybe to answer your question, that would be my advice for others. Looking to work in this space is to maybe ask yourself what are the unique kind of characteristics of one discipline and how could it be creatively reimagined to be put into another? I'm thinking of some of the other projects that I'm currently working on. And some of these questions might be like 'how could the gestural sketch be reimagined sculpturally", or "how could the evolving nature of a audio feedback loop inform the process of painting?", "or how could you sculpturally freeze a moment in time and then that painting kind of collapses and collects time". 

JMM: I love that you mentioned sketching. That is something I personally engage with in a lot and I love how you mentioned well that this project it started just as a drawing and you kind of let yourself go through this creative process of thinking what do you want to accomplish with this and how that might evolve according to your vision. So much farther than just like jumping and straight into thinking of this huge and ambitious, maybe installation that includes all these different elements and components, you started in one central focal point of what you wanted to do. And just expanded it from there. I think that's a lot of the important part of the creative process. Kind of like, divergent thinking. Which then converges into something more meaningful that was the sonic part of the installation that you mentioned. 

And for a last question. That kinda goes back into, well the idea of using sonic components, sound, to look at the the movement of the river. How can we become more aware of the current fleeting moment? And, what's around us it nature or as you mentioned in just humanity?

DA: That's a good question. I mean, I would say that that's a primary motivating factor for me in my practice. I find myself attempting to hold on to what are otherwise fugitive experiences, right? Moments that have a tendency to disappear. These are incredibly engaging and meaningful experiences that are happening around us all the time. I think my advice would be to simply allow yourself to be attentive and curious. Let yourself be swept away by surprise.

JMM: Wonderful. Thank you very much, David Andree, for joining us and for collaborating with the Wiseman Art Museum. We hope to have you all visit the exhibition and thank you all for all the listeners too. 

DA: Absolutely.


Jacqueline Ultan (American, born 1960), David Bartley (American, born 1966), Aliya Ultan (American, born 1996)

Jacqueline Ultan, David Bartley, Aliya Ultan, Painting for Two Cellos #1–#6, from the Paintings for Two Cellos series, 2016. Oil and graphite on matte board, audio playback devices and headphones. Lent by the artists.

Listen to the audio recordings while observing the paintings. 

Jacqueline Ultan and Aliya Ultan are classically trained cellists, improvisers, and composers, and David Bartley is a visual artist. Bartley’s interest in process and working in series suggests a logical pairing with modern experimental music, which has a tradition of using abstract visual designs as “graphic scores” that musicians interpret as music. In Paintings for Two Cellos, Bartley’s paintings are loose permutations of a grid in different colors and served as graphic scores interpreted by Jacqueline and Aliya Ultan in the accompanying audio recordings. In this case, the collaboration was more of a feedback loop. As Bartley recalls:

The paintings happened very quickly in the span of one long evening. Aliya, Jacqueline’s niece, was visiting for the holidays. The three of us realized we had no presents for the family holiday celebration, “Hanuk-mas,” which was the next evening. Through some animated conversation, we came up with the idea to create Paintings for Two Cellos to give each family member, which would include a painting and a thumb drive with the cello music. I would create a painting in my studio and bring it to them to interpret, play, and record. As Jacq and Aliya were playing one painting, I would be making another while listening to their “musical take” of the previous painting. The entire process of both music and painting was completely intuitive and improvisational with no editing involved.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description for Paintings for Two Cellos #1–#6, 2019. 


Pedram Baldari (Kurdish, born 1981)

Pedram Baldari, Walling Talks – Talking Walls, 2023. Audio recordings, plywood, mirrored stainless steel, mirror acrylic. Lent by the artist.

Place your ear near the center of the mirrors on the walls on your right and left, and listen.

Trained as an artist and architect, Pedram Baldari explores stateless nations’ resistance to colonial oppression through the medium of installation. His investment in this issue is rooted in his identity as a Kurd in Eastern Kurdistan (Kurdistan region of Iran), where the state has systematically suppressed the Kurdish language, history, and culture. In Walling Talks — Talking Walls, Baldari replays intimate acts of survival and defiance through sound recordings that are at first barely audible as we pass through the galleries. Small holes in parallel walls allow us to hear, on one side, lullabies sung by grieving Kurdish mothers and, on the other side, Kurdish protest songs. A pair of mirrors encircles these holes and reflects the face of Şiler/ , the Crown Imperial and an emblem of endurance. Kurdish protest songs have been historically or still are banned in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria, and Baldari was able to collect these recordings only through extensive and difficult research. Listening to these songs in the context of an American museum is bittersweet; far from Kurdistan, the sounds attest to both wily perseverance and traumatic displacement, beyond their original intentions.

This project was made possible by the support of the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.

*Audio for this piece is still in development. 

Alison Hiltner (American)

Alison Hiltner (American), Tethers, 2020. Silicone, various mechanical components including a transplant carrier, sensors, pumps, rubber tubing, stainless steel, and other components found and made. Lent by the artist.

A close up of silicone nubs which fill with air in tandem with a heartbeat sensor. The silicone nubs are white but a faint red plug is visible inside—the nubs are held in place by stainless steel clips and rest in a stainless steel basin.
Alison Hiltner, Tethers, 2020

⚠️ Allergen Warning: Silicone

Lightly place your finger on the green light, ensuring your fingertip touches the back of the enclosure. You can touch or place a hand on the pulsating forms.

Alison Hiltner’s sculptures, installations, and performances playfully elucidate the profound philosophical implications of scientific research, which scientists themselves may lose sight of as they conduct their daily work. The artist takes inspiration from the aesthetics of science fiction. This installation is part of Hiltner’s ongoing Tethers project, based on her experience working in two cardiac laboratories at the University of Minnesota. Hiltner describes the installation as allowing you to “touch the untouchable”— namely, your own heart in the form of a pulsating organ. If you operate it carefully, the sculpture even gives you the opportunity to hold another person’s heartbeat in your hands, thus facilitating a singular and remarkable experience of interconnection.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Alison Hiltner's Tethers, 2020


Nooshin Hakim (Iranian, born 1983), Pedram Baldari (Kurdish, born 1981), Rodrigo Cádiz (Chilean, born 1972)

Nooshin Hakim, Pedram Baldari, Rodrigo Cádiz, Fossilized Past, 2023. Tubing, sound engineered components. Lent by the artist.

Insert a clean glass mouthpiece into the rubber connector and blow. Manipulate the sound with the sliders. Dispose of used mouthpieces in the designated receptacle.

Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are provided.

Nooshin Hakim and Pedram Baldari, Iranian and Kurdish artists respectively, explore the legacies of colonial domination across the globe, including in the midwestern United States, where they both now live. The Chilean composer Rodrigo Cádiz creates music using algorithms rooted in complex systems theory and artificial intelligence. Fossilized Past began as a collaborative research project on the topic of soil contamination. The three artists engaged in a dialogue with Anishinaabe land protectors and a whistle-blower scientist. They collected soil samples and made field recordings of refinery sites, oil pipeline areas, and contaminated soil and water sites around Lake Michigan and Concón, Chile. The interactive sculpture on view here is outwardly composed of pipes that resemble oil refinery equipment. Inside the pipes are sensors that cause fragments of the artists’ field recordings to play, as well as Cádiz’s recording of a protest in Chile in 2019 and vocal sounds composed from soil contamination data. In the words of Hakim, “Ruined soil, saturated with oil and petrochemicals, serves as a tangible emblem of how a racialized people who live and depend on that soil have their possibilities for flourishing annihilated.”

Vocalist: Natalia Cádiz
Electronic design: Michel Rozas

*Audio for this piece is still in development. 

Rotem Tamir

Rotem Tamir, Aperture, 2017. Birch plywood, glue, silver trombone mouthpiece, silver tuba mouthpiece, clear latex balloons, aluminum tubes, epoxy paint, plastic tube, pine lumber. Lent by the artist.

Two femme presenting people appear to blow into a slab of wood through silver tuba mouthpieces.
Rotem Tamir, Aperture, 2017

⚠️ Allergen Warning: Latex

Insert the disposable straw into the balloon, pull down the neck of the balloon to cover the tuba mouthpiece opening, and blow into the straw. Dispose of used mouthpieces in the designated receptacle. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are provided.

A tall wooden rectangle leans against the gallery wall like a 1960s minimalist sculpture. A colored straw leads to what the artist describes as an “internal maze.” We cannot see the maze through the small aperture of the straw, but we can hear it through the sound it makes when we blow into the straw. Rotem Tamir worked with pine resin to make previous sculptures, and she has reflected deeply on her attraction to and involvement with this process:

We don’t think about breathing, but when it’s over, we’re done with. It is something so personal and intimate, like your smell in your breath. Who feels your breath? Your partner whom you share the bed with at night. So when I blow into the material, I create the object by means of my breath, I put my breath in it. It’s the most intimate relationship you can get into with the material.

By making a sculpture in the form of a wind instrument, Tamir transfers her power as an artist to the museum visitor, who is given the opportunity to breathe life into an otherwise inert geometrical form.

First exhibited at Ha’kibbuz Gallery, Tel Aviv. Curated by Yael Kainy.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Rotem Tamir's Aperture, 2017

Katayoun Amjadi (Iranian-American, born 1981)

Katayoun Amjadi, The Names We Change, 2020. Airplane seats, iPads, headphones, printed materials, metal, pretzel packets, slight scent of airplane. Lent by the artist.

A blue airline seat with a video tablet attached to the headrest and blue headphones.

⚠️ Allergen Warning: Gluten, Soy, Wheat

Sit in an airplane seat. To view the video, use the provided headphones. If you take a snack from the service cart, dispose of the wrapper in the receptacle in the cart. NOTE: Food is not allowed anywhere else in the galleries.

Katayoun Amjadi traveled to the United States from Iran to study ceramics and sculpture. Like many immigrant artists who use non-western motifs and words in their work, Amjadi is often asked to translate these “foreign” references, which she does not always want to do. In The Names We Change, Amjadi explores this burden of making oneself legible from another angle. The installation was built around a series of video interviews with immigrants, LGBTQIA+ people, and members of other marginalized groups talking about their decisions to keep or change their names in complex acts of accommodation and resistance. The artist packaged these videos in the form of in-flight entertainment, a tongue-in-cheek affirmation of our mutual condition as people negotiating transit between cultures and identities.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Katyoun Amjadi's The Names We Change, 2020

Emma Beatrez (American, born 1995) & Lee Noble (American, born 1983)

Emma Beatrez & Lee Noble, X-brace (diffusers), 2023. Leather, thread, steel, vinyl, igneous rock, handmade perfume. Lent by the artists.

leather "x" shaped braces with metal chains are suspended from the ceiling.
Emma Beatrez & Lee Noble, X-brace (diffusers), 2023.

Try on the garments. Replace garments on hangers when done.

Multidisciplinary artists Emma Beatrez and Lee Noble first created X-brace (diffusers) as wearable sculptures, their musty smell intended to correspond to the sculptures’ original location in a basement gallery. The materials (leather, igneous rock formed in flames, vinyl, and hardware) all contribute to the garments’ vaguely ritualistic and erotic feel. Now in the Weisman Art Museum, this new group of X-brace (diffusers) does not so much merge with its surroundings as subtly contest the institutional ideal of a neutral, i.e., unscented, environment. Beatrez’s and Noble’s pungent vests promise to root us more deeply in our bodies as we engage with the multisensory art in this exhibition.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Beatrez & Noble's X-brace (diffusers), 2023

Lucy Derickson (American, born 1982)

Lucy Derickson, Surrogate Devices: The Smell of Him 1987 – 2001, 2014. Repurposed pewter serviceware, repurposed furniture, cigarette butts, HALLS Mentho-Lyptus cough drops, water, fabrics, fan, stool. Lent by the artist.

Pewter devices in the shape of teardrops atop a bright red shelf with other wooden and metal implements. The effect is that of a steampunk distillation device.
Lucy Derickson, Surrogate Devices: The Smell of Him 1987 – 2001, 2014

Sit on the stool to experience the scents.

Lucy Derickson applies techniques of metal-smithing to produce objects and installations that connect people in both intimate and open ways. In Surrogate Devices, she capitalizes on the moldable and anachronistic qualities of pewter, as well as on the power of smell to recall intensely embodied memories. She refers to these sculptural devices as “time-machines” that are capable of conjuring a person’s “essence” despite their physical absence. In this work, the artist attempts to recreate her father’s breath, which she has described lovingly as “a mix of cigarettes and the cough drops he used to mask the evidence of his habit.”

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Derckson's Surrogate Devices: The Smell of Him 1987 – 2001, 2014

Liza Sylvestre (American, born 1983) & Christopher Robert Jones (American, born 1991)

Liza Sylvestre & Christopher Robert Jones, Untitled, 2023. Video monitor, video, captions, pen on tracing paper drawings, books. Lent by the artists.

The experimental composer John Cage significantly influenced the trajectory of postwar art and music. In his iconic composition 4'33" (1952), the musician refrains from playing an instrument for precisely four minutes and thirty-three seconds. The work famously demonstrates that silence does not really exist, if only because the world and our bodies vibrate automatically and continuously, even in a concert hall—or art museum—where members of the audience do their best to remain quiet. For artists Liza Sylvestre and Christopher Robert Jones, Cage’s idea of a spectrum linking sound and silence is a useful position from which to question a wider range of simplistic and oppressive binary systems, especially the deaf/hearing binary that Cage failed to consider. In this video installation, fragments of Cage’s speech are edited and creatively captioned in an assemblage without fixed orientation. Sylvestre and Jones expect, and celebrate, that each museum visitor will experience the work and their relationship to it differently, just as the artists did in the process of collaboration.

The captions of John Cage’s speech in the video Untitled are set in Open Dyslexic, a free and accessible font.

Audio file
Listen to the verbal description of Sylvestre & Jones' Untitled, 2023