Join us for regular museum hours starting February 3, 2023.

Annie Helmericks-Louder: Land as a Living Room

February 3, 2023 - March 17, 2023

“So, what about all these chairs and couches? The short answer is that I have always been strongly drawn to beautifully designed furniture. As an artist, they are delightful to spend time with. They seem to embody nostalgia, elegance, the comfort of sitting, and sense of home for me. But the long answer is a bit more complex. 

I was born into a different time than most of my audience. In addition, my childhood was very different than many. While most Americans were vaulting into the new consumerism, my mother, naturalist Constance Helmericks, took me and my sister backpacking into remote mountain canyons and canoeing down rivers. I spent my childhood running feral. There were very long periods of time we lived, sat, slept, and played completely outdoors. Understandably, I never questioned that these places were my living rooms. From my earliest experience I instinctively knew the giving, alive and conscious Land was Home.

But times change. My childhood would not be possible today. Human population has reached 8 billion. The culture of a childhood played outside is gone; young people are mostly estranged from nature. Although we have existed for only 200,000 years, our impact has been so great that we have entered the sixth mass extinction age. We must renegotiate our relationship with this planet. 

But how to speak about this? How can we make entry back into sacred relationship with our land more porous? How can we pass the threshold of separation back into awareness with kindness and caring?

The biggest task for new generations is to realize that humankind is not separate from Nature. What affects one of us affects us all. Perhaps, maybe in a small way, these sitting places can establish a starting point.”

Annie Helmericks-Louder, Artist