August 15, 2013

GREEN ACRES Spotlight – Dan Devine, Living Art

Ensuring the successful completion of a project is important for any artist, but when one’s work includes living creatures, the stakes are upped. For artist Dan Devine, featured in AAC’s current GREEN ACRES exhibition, one of his most recent projects forced him to intertwine his life with a group of sheep. What started out as a quest for self-sufficiency turned into a multi-year experience that would raise questions about life, death, and survival.

Dan Devine "Sheep Farm" at Green Acres AAC 2013
Dan Devine “Sheep Farm” at Green Acres AAC 2013

The initial concept of Devine’s Sheep Farm, a living, self-sustaining installation, was focused on, “the meaning of local.” Everything used to complete this project (including the sheep, caregivers, food, and supplies) were gathered from within a twenty-five mile radius. Devine and his team quickly realized the energy and time commitment involved in a self-sustained installation with living animals. To ensure the survival of the sheep, those involved in this project provided food and water for the sheep, removed ice from troughs in the winter, administered shots, harvested wool, and docked the tails of these animals.

Despite the tremendous efforts of Devine, almost from the beginning he realized that nature will always provide the ultimate control of the cycle of life. Although the sheep were provided for with the utmost care, a number of factors resulted in the early death and illness of the sheep that Devine dedicated years of his life to. Devine created a Genealogy Chart from 2007-2012 that shows the lifespan of the sheep he raised. While Devine began the project with five sheep and currently has five sheep under his supervision, all of these are different from the ones he began with.

Dan Devine Sheep Farm Wool
Dan Devine Sheep Farm Wool

Devine stated that, “Sheep Farm is a continually evolving artwork. It will be both a living artwork and a studio in which new ideas will develop. It will be a stage for new projects. Because Sheep Farm is live I’ve chosen to address its many issues in blog format.” Many visitors to the sheep farm posted comments on Devine’s blog that detailed their experience and impressions of the living exhibit. Some provided Devine with advice as to how he could better care for his sheep, giving everyone a chance to contribute to this project. What do you think about the use of the internet to create a collaborative environment for artists and the public?

– Written by Benjamin Kernan, Administrative and Marketing Intern at the Arlington Arts Center

This exhibition is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. The Exhibition Award program was founded in 1998 to honor Emily Hall Tremaine. It rewards innovation and experimentation among curators by supporting thematic exhibitions that challenge audiences and expand the boundaries of contemporary art.

Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award

An Adventure of Being

Extended to February 11, 2024

Smith & Meyer Galleries
Featured Artists: Vincent Cy Chen, Nicki Cherry, Jeremy Olson, and Stephanie J. Williams

An Adventure of Being explores blurred boundaries, physical breakdown, and states of in-between-ness. The painting, sculpture, and installations included in the exhibition incorporate materials and forms that bring to mind living beings.

2024 Art Classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults!

Register now! Classes begin January 21!

Whether you are giving the gift of creativity this year to a friend or family member, or you plan to set a new year’s resolution to get back into creating, sign up today to secure your spot in one of MoCA’s wonderful programs! From drawing and painting to ceramics and mixed media, you are sure to find an inspiring art class.

Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty

August 5, 2023 - July 28, 2024

Front Lawn
MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art are thrilled to co-sponsor the installation of Zaq Landsberg’s celebrated Reclining Liberty on the Museum’s front lawn.

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