Josiah McElheny: Island Universe
February 23, 2019–August 18, 2019
Bringing artist Josiah McElheny’s Island Universe to the Cantor is a rare opportunity to examine both cutting-edge art and physics. The monumental installation is a visual response to recent theories of the multiverse, an elaboration of the Big Bang theory. The installation is both visually stunning and carefully constructed according to measurements that map the history of time. McElheny worked closely with distinguished Ohio State University professor of astronomy David Weinberg to develop those measurements. The five hanging chandeliers, which incorporate precise scientific calculations, are modeled on the chandeliers of the Metropolitan Opera in New York—iconic midcentury design objects that were made in Vienna in 1965. That year, the first physical evidence for the Big Bang theory became public, launching popular interest in space science. McElheny’s installation—made of chromed metal, transparent handblown glass, and lights— represents potential universes whose dense origins expand outwards.
Watch the conversation between director Susan Dackerman and artist Josiah McElheny
from the March 1 Opening Celebration.
Conversations focus on Josiah McElheny’s Island Universe, a monumental sculptural work inspired by theories of the multiverse.
• April 25, 6 PM
Nancy Troy, Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art, Department of Art & Art History, and Thomas Ryckman, professor, Philosophy Department
• May 30, 6 PM
Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, assistant curator of American art, Cantor Arts Center, and Elizabeth Kessler, lecturer, American Studies Program, and American Studies Program coordinator
This exhibition is organized by the Cantor Arts Center. We gratefully acknowledge generous support from Maryellie Johnson and Rupert Johnson, Jr. Additional support is provided by the Halperin Exhibitions Fund, the Robert Mondavi Fund, The Clumeck Endowment Fund, the Elizabeth Swindells Hulsey Exhibitions Fund, and the Contemporary Collectors Circle.
Map and Directions
The Cantor Arts Center is located at the intersection of Museum Way and Lomita Drive in the heart of the arts district on the Stanford campus. The Cantor faces the Bing Concert Hall across Palm Drive, northwest of The Oval and the Main Quad.
Parking is limited. Visitor parking is available on Lomita Drive and in a nearby parking structure at Roth Way and Campus Drive. On weekdays until 4PM visitors may use marked, metered spots. On weekdays after 4PM and all day on weekends, visitor parking is free and visitors may also use A and C permit spaces.