Robert Wilson. Large Drawing for Spaceship Scene. Design for the opera Einstein on the Beach. 1976

Robert Wilson Large Drawing for Spaceship Scene. Design for the opera Einstein on the Beach 1976

  • Not on view

For the 1976 Byrd Hoffman Foundation/Festival d'Avignon production (premiere Avignon, France). Music by Philip Glass. Choreography by Andrew de Groat and Lucinda Childs. Directed by Robert Wilson

This drawing was made in preparation for Wilson's opera Einstein on the Beach. The four-and-a-half-hour-long piece consists of scenes loosely relating to Albert Einstein's personal life and scientific achievements. Wilson's high-contrast drawing foregrounds luminosity as a central preoccupation of the production, both as a metaphor for knowledge and as the potential, blinding result of Einstein's theories. The spaceship rendered here was the idea of the production's composer, Philip Glass, who said, "My music sounds to me like the motor of a spaceship, so I said I wanted a spaceship in the opera."

Gallery label from Stage Pictures: Drawing for Performance, March 11–August 24, 2009.
Additional text

This drawing was made in preparation for Wilson's opera Einstein on the Beach. The four-and-a-half-hour-long piece consists of scenes loosely related to Albert Einstein's personal life and scientific achievements. Wilson's high-contrast pencil drawing foregrounds luminosity as a central preoccupation of the production, both as a metaphor for knowledge and as the potentially blinding effect of Einstein's theories. The spaceship rendered here was conceived by the production's composer, Philip Glass, who said, "My music sounds to me like the motor of a spaceship, so I said I wanted a spaceship in the opera."

Gallery label from Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye, November 15, 2014–January 17, 2016.
Medium
Pencil on paper
Dimensions
25 7/8 x 35 5/8" (65.7 x 100.7 cm)
Credit
Gift of Lily Auchincloss
Object number
311.1978
Copyright
© 2021 Robert Wilson
Department
Drawings and Prints

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