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Portal to Archimedes' Chamber

Meridel Rubenstein & Ellen Zweig, Portal to Archimedes' Chamber, 1990, palladium prints, steel, laser disks and players and video monitors. New Mexico Museum of Art. Purchase with funds from the Jordie M. Chilson Estate, 1997 (1997.53.1a-s) Photo by Blair Clark © Meridel Rubenstein

Portal to Archimedes' Chamber

Other:Oppenheimer / Archimedes' #1
Other:Oppenheimer / Archimedes' #2
Artist: Meridel Rubenstein (American, born 1948)
Artist: Ellen Zweig (American, born 1947)
Date: 1990
Medium: palladium prints, steel, laser disks and players and video monitors
Dimensions:
111 x 236 x 50 in. (281.9 x 599.4 x 127 cm)
Each Column: 101 x 33 x 2 in. (256.5 x 83.8 x 5.1 cm)
Classification: Installation
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds from the Jordie M. Chilson Estate, 1997
Keywords and Associated Locations:
Object number: 1997.53.1a-s
Description
This piece was created as part of a large project which examined the impact of the Manhattan Project on local culture through the lens of Edith Warner, a woman who ran a tea house at the bottom of the plateau where the secret work to develop the atomic bomb was underway. Edith and her tea house served as a bridge between the people of San Ildefonso Pueblo (on whose land she lived) and the scientists (her tea house was one of the few places they were allowed to frequent outside of Los Alamos). This piece raises probing questions about the Manhattan Project through the missile-shaped photographic towers (Robert Oppenheimer, Otowi Crossing where Edith's house was, and the "race" to beat the Germans and win the war on the right; and the destructive power of the atomic bomb juxtaposed with civilization exemplified through a tea cup on the left). References to Archimedes (the ancient world's inventor of weapons of mass destruction) reveal the long history of weaponry and warfare as mothers of invention.
Not on view