Birmingham

Michael Hall

Hill Gallery

Michael Hall’s exhibition entitled “American Honeymoon (Niagara Speculations),” 1991, picks up on concerns introduced in his earlier “Rose and Briar,” 1989–91, sculptures, by employing the great basin of Niagara Falls to frame American historical, cultural, and religious narratives. The “Rose and Briar” sculptures were based on an Appalachian folk song in which two lovers are united in death through the intertwining of the rose and briar bushes that grew on their respective graves. Where the even earlier “Waltz,” 1983–88, sculptures function as literal and metaphoric containers, in the “Rose and Briar” series the containers have been opened up, and their contents—the relics of American consumption—allowed to spill out. In these works, the “high” and the “low,” the avant-garde and the kitsch, commingle.

Visions of Niagara figure prominently in American cultural iconography. Tourists and

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