Kristen Morgin, Piano Forte, 2004

Where are They Now? Kristen Morgin's Piano Forte

Since September 9, Piano Forte (2004) by Kristen Morgin has been on view in Visions and Revisions: Renwick Invitational 2016 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Included alongside the work of Steven Young Lee, Jennifer Trask, and Norwood Viviano, the exhibition focuses on "four artists who take innovative approaches to their selected mediums and who share a fascination with themes of transformation, ruin, and rebirth."1

Kristen Morgin, Piano Forte, 2004
Kristen Morgin, 
Piano Forte, 

Piano Forte was premiered at the Hammer Museum in THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles in 2005. Morgin’s sculpture embodied the materiality that was the key theme of exhibition. I remember telling my supervisor at the time (I was an intern then) that it was going to be a difficult show to protect. All of the works were so evocative of tactility that visitors were very tempted touch the sculptures. Piano Forte is particularly delicate and vulnerable because the unfired clay in the work will naturally crack and degrade over time. This visible aging evokes ceramics excavated from ancient ruins as well as the ephemerality of the human body. The unfired clay and cement barely hang on to the wood and wire armature like decaying flesh on a skeleton. Fortunately, the work survived the exhibition intact and was acquired by the museum. It was shown again in Hammer Contemporary Collection: Part II in 2007 before its current exhibition at the Smithsonian.

The last day to catch the exhibition in D.C. will be January 16. After that, it will be slowly heading home to Los Angeles.

1. “Exhibitions: Visions and Revisions: Renwick Invitational 2016 / American Art, ” accessed January 3, 2017,

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Tags: where are they now, collections