Michael Petry’s new installation at Palm Springs using Bowers & Wilkins speakers.

The Touch of the Oracle is a one man show at the Palm Springs Art Museum (2012) featuring the installation Joshua D’s Wall made to my design at the Berengo Studio (Venice).

The work consists of a field of 250 glass stones, each roughly the size of a small boulder, and unique in its own right. The stones spill out across the museum floor as if they formed a huge wall that had toppled over, echoing the biblical creation myth of Joshua’s destruction of the innocent city and people of Jericho. A similar rock formation close to Palm Springs gave name to nearby Joshua Tree National park.

Four other works complete the exhibition Golden Rain in a new formation, The Golden Age,  L‘Age d‘Or and a sound installation The Dilemma which commemorates 25 years of performance art works with composers Gavin Greenaway and John Powell. The Dilemma periodically plays throughout the main gallery. Hidden Bowers & Wilkins speakers in the walls blast out female and male voices in a dialogue of misunderstanding. The piece, while referencing Joshua D’s Wall, is an independent work, which adds another layer of tonal/visual complexity allowing emergent performative ideas to develop in the space. ”

Michael Petry – artist

“Due to the nature of Michael Petry’s piece and the cavernous nature of the space, we were very lucky to get Bowers & Wilkins to donate CM8 white speakers and ASW 608 sub woofers that allowed the soundtrack to emanate in the most sonically complete and natural way within the space.”

John Powell – composer


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Michael Petry (born El Paso, Texas, 1960) has lived in London since 1981. He studied at Rice University, Houston (BA), London Guildhall University (MA), and has a Doctor in Arts from Middlesex University.
Petry is an artist, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London, Guest Curator for Futurecity and was Curator of the Royal Academy Schools Gallery.
He co-founded the Museum of Installation, and was Guest Curator at the Kunstakademiet, Oslo, and Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton. Petry co-authored Installation Art (1994), and Installation in the New Millennium (2003), and authored Abstract Eroticism (1996) and A Thing of Beauty is… (1997). The Trouble with Michael, a monograph of his practice, was published by Art Media Press (2001). Petry’s book Hidden Histories: 20th Century Male Same Sex Lovers in the Visual Arts (2004) is the first comprehensive survey of its kind, and accompanied the exhibition Hidden Histories he curated for The New Art Gallery Walsall. His two-volume Golden Rain (2008) accompanied his installation for the On the Edge exhibition for Stavanger 2008, European Capital of Culture. Petry was the first Artist in Residence at Sir John Soane’s Museum (2010/11) exhibiting two bodies of work, published as Smoke & Mirrors (2011). Petry’s hardback The Art of Not Making: The New Artist Artisan Relationship (Thames & Hudson, 2011) will be released in paperback in 2012.


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