The Duke House Exhibitions Series
March 22 – June 19, 2017 Open to the public daily 1pm - 4pm
*note that as this is a functional space, classes and events sometimes take place in the exhibition rooms. Please consult the events calendar ahead of time.
I n Beatrice Glow: Spice Roots/Routes, Glow traces environmental degradation, wealth inequality, and the ramifications of colonialism to their historical roots in the early modern spice trade. The pursuit of spices, which she calls “the petroleum of the 17th century,” motivated conquest and colonization across Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America. Trade routes like the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade ferried spices, silks, and other luxury goods from China and the Philippines to Spain via Mexico. Polygenetic objects like the manton de Manila, an embroidered silk shawl made in China and the Philippines that became a fashion staple among wealthy women in South America and Spain, expose these networks of influence. Glow’s Spice Route series takes compositional cues from popular manton de Manila embroidery patterns, navigating between and beyond individual cultural traditions. Each digital print highlights a plant or spice that was intertwined with the legacy of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade between the 17th and 19th centuries, embodying the social and economic connections forged by colonial mercantilism.
In 1890, the pursuit of intoxicating aromatic plants produced another kind of empire: the American Tobacco Company. James B. Duke’s tobacco conglomerate dominated the American market and worked extensively with distributors in the United Kingdom and East Asia before being ordered by the Supreme Court to dissolve in 1911, having run afoul of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In 1909, Duke and his wife, Nanaline, commissioned the architect Horace Trumbauer to design a mansion on Fifth Avenue. Financed by the proceeds of the lucrative tobacco trade, the Duke House is an especially fitting site for Glow’s work, a meditation on the intersection of luxury, intoxication, and commerce.
This exhibition demonstrates how these recurring patterns of exploration and exploitation speak to one another and continue to resonate with contemporary concerns. By installing the Spice Route series in the former home of James B. Duke, we also reflect on how the Institute of Fine Arts—which has made the Duke House its home since 1958—can productively engage with the history of this site.
Beatrice Glow is the 2016–2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and a Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics’ Council Member. She is the recipient of the Van Lier Visual Art Fellowship at Wave Hill (2015), was named a Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Finalist (2015), and served as Artist-in-Residence at the LES Studio Program at Artists Alliance Inc (2016). Recent projects include an installation at the Honolulu Biennial (2017), a lecture performance at the Venice Biennale (2015), and solo exhibitions at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Chile (2016), the A/P/A Institute at NYU (2016), and Wave Hill, New York (2015). She holds a BFA in Studio Art from NYU.
Organized by Kristen Gaylord and Kathleen Robin Joyce
With support from Jeong-A Kim and Matthew Lee