Renowned public and video artist joins Lehigh as the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Artist-in-Residence.
Attracted to the City of Bethlehem by the history of the Bethlehem Steel, renowned visual artist Shimon Attie will create an exhibition on Bethlehem’s past and present as the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Endowed Artist-in-Residence for the Performing and Visual Arts. As the Department of Art, Architecture and Design’s artist-in-residence, Attie will be at Lehigh through Fall 2022.
Since obtaining his Master of Fine Arts degree, Attie has created approximately 30 major art projects in 10 countries across the globe. They include projects in Berlin, Tel Aviv, Rome, New York, Boston and San Francisco. His work also has been featured in numerous exhibitions including at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago and The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize and Guggenheim Fellowship, and holds the Lee Krasner Lifetime Achievement Award in Art.
With his experience working in post-industrial terrains that are reinventing themselves or going through revitalization—Aberfan, Wales, a former coal mining village, and a steel production area in Luxembourg—he said he was thrilled for the opportunity to work in Bethlehem, which also has seen much change in the more than two decades since local steelmaking operations ended. After learning about the city’s Moravian roots and the casino that is part of the revitalization of the Bethlehem Steel grounds, he said his excitement grew.
“These collisions between these different layers are profoundly interesting and inspiring from an artistic point of view,” Attie says. “Bethlehem…it just felt right. I felt very excited by it and very eager and that's before I even knew about these other layers of the history.”
The exhibition is scheduled to open in August 2022 at the Lehigh University Art Galleries. It will feature a mix of media with a central sculpture surrounded by video. Attie won’t share many details about the sculpture, wanting it to be a surprise for the community. He only says, “It is a kind of distillation of some of these curious intersections of different layers in Bethlehem's past and present.” For the video, Attie is filming members of the community in four or five different locations around the city that “distills a specific aspect of Bethlehem and its history.”
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