The installation by Kevin Beasley at Whitney Museum of American Art marks his first solo exhibition at a New York museum, and his most ambitious work to date. Recuperating the motor of a cotton gin, the artist manages to use it as a musical instrument, creating an immersive experience for visitors of the museum. The motor, which once functioned to separate cotton seeds from fiber, is used here as a generator of sound: through customised microphones and audio hardware, Beasley separates the physical motor from the noises it produces.
The installation aims to reflect on the legacy of the American South, and on topics such as history, land, race, and labour.
- Kevin Beasley, "Rebuilding of the cotton gin motor", 2016, Photo by Carlos Vela-Prado, Courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York