The Detroit Institute of Arts Presents:

Interventions/Joseph Wesner

JOSEPH WESNER, born 1955
Yoken, 1990
wood, steel, paint
African Neck Rest Table, 1994-95
steel, glass

Wesner's intervention consists of this work and the glass-covered table in the gallery to the right. Wesner has placed his works here to suggest correspondences between the function of the certain African objects and his own concepts about the meaning of art.

The nails accumulated on the Nail Figure - located in the case to the right - were inserted to record contracts by members of the community for which the object was made. Wesner's work embodies a similar notion - that cultural continuity comes from an accumulation of shared experience. The loose arrangement of blocks supporting a figure implies that culture is constructed out of events that may seem random.

Wesner's other piece also acts as a metaphor. The table is an analog for what Wesner defines as "the holding or supporting of symbolic power within a work of art." In this way it conceptually combines the form of the royal African neck rests with their literal function as supports for the heads of community leaders.

Courtesy of Hill Gallery and the artist

"Yoken; African Neck Rest Table"

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