3/13/10 - 8/8/10

Tristin Lowe

Vivian Patterson '77, Curator of Collections

The exhibition features a 52-foot-long, ghostly white sperm whale made out of industrial wool felt made by Tristin Lowe (American, b. 1966). Sprawled across the museum’s largest gallery, Mocha Dick has the size and feel of an actual whale. Lowe achieves this effect through his use of industrial wool felt, which mimics the appearance of flesh. The wool is carefully stitched, pieced, and threaded together so that these constructed seams and zippers appear as harpoon-scars and squid-besieged gashes. The wool covers an armature and inflatable device that creates the look of muscular form. Lowe also hand-attaches wool-crafted barnacles to the whale’s side, which, in addition to the scars and gashes, give the whale an older, embattled aura. Viewers are invited to consider the magnificence of the whale, the legacy of whaling, the care of our environment, and how the epic leviathan continues to capture the imagination.

This exhibition continues WCMA’s year-long focus on art and landscape—landscape in all of its guises: as topography, sustainer of life, site of conservation activism, cultural icon, metaphor, and object of awe and reverence. Mocha Dick was originally shown in Philadelphia at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in May 2009.

Related Program

The Whiteness of the Whale: A Multidisciplinary Discussion of Moby-Dick

Thursday, April 8 
4:30 pm

Join faculty from across the disciplines at Williams and the Williams-Mystic Program for a discussion of Herman Melville’s epic novel and Tristin Lowe’s sculpture.

Participants include:
 Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Associate Professor of English, University of Connecticut; Senior Lecturer in Literature of the Sea, Williams-Mystic Program, Mystic Seaport
 • James T. Carlton, Professor of Marine Sciences, Williams College, and Director, Williams-Mystic, The Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport
 • Peter Erickson, Visiting Professor of Humanities, Williams College 
• Glenn Gordinier, Robert G. Albion Historian, Williams-Mystic Program, Mystic Seaport; Co-Director, The Munson Institute, Mystic Seaport
 • Richard J. King, Lecturer in Literature of the Sea, Williams-Mystic Program, Mystic Seaport
 • Williams S. Lynn, Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Williams College
 • Shawn Rosenheim, Professor of English, Williams College

About the Williams-Mystic Program

Williams-Mystic is the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and the Mystic Seaport, which is the largest maritime museum in America. It is a one-semester interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea. Based in Mystic, Connecticut, the courses are hands-on and discussion-based with an emphasis on original research to truly experience the world.