new-york

Maura Sheehan

Arnold Herstand & Company

In Maura Sheehan’s installation Trade Winds, 1991, the sweet scent of sugar, a cool breeze, and views of tropical islands and open beaches transform the spectator into a tourist. Sheehan rolls out a black velvet carpet, inviting us to kick off our city shoes; pours brown and white sugar around the periphery of the room, and completes the balmy effect with ocean views displayed in faux windows and a large rotating fan.

Trade Winds utilizes the gallery exhibition space like a large diorama punctuated with cartographic symbols. A nod at Joseph Cornell’s earlier piece of the same title, Sheehan’s installation brought his cosmology to life. The carpet divides the room into two halves, drawing a geographic and political division between the north and the south, between our world and our “sphere of influence.”

Our imperialistic vantage point is made clear at either end of the carpet as it extends

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