June 8–September 8, 2019
The Raft (2004), a defining achievement in video installation, exemplifies Bill Viola’s powerfully affecting work. Projected at life size, a group of people casually stand together. Suddenly, they are inundated with a rush of water that overtakes them, and then, just as unexpectedly, recedes. Their reactions, as they huddle together, some seeking protection and others helping those who have fallen, are meticulously captured in slow motion. The viewer experiences this event close up and on a grand scale, in a darkened room and surrounded by the roaring sounds of the water.
The Raft inspires a reflection on the range of human responses to crisis – natural and manmade, from mythic floods to contemporary natural disasters. There is no raft in sight to provide safety. The stirring imagery of The Raft raises moral and spiritual questions. How would one react to such an overwhelming event? How responsible are we for one another? Should we stand alone or help those in need?
Bill Viola (b. 1951, Queens, N.Y.) is a pivotal figure in the development of video and installation art. For more than four decades, Viola has created video work, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, and works for television broadcast. He explores universal human experiences and is inspired by diverse spiritual traditions, including Christian mysticism, Islamic Sufism, and Zen Buddhism. Viola has exhibited internationally. Among his numerous accolades, he has received a Getty Research Institute Fellowship and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
This presentation of Bill Viola: The Raft is organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA) and Bill Viola Studio. The Raft is part of ArtRoom, an ongoing series of contemporary art installations organized by the AFA
This presentation is made possible, in part, by funds from the A.R. Brooks Trust.
artist in residence
Our Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program invites artists to live and work at the museum. While in residence, artists consider the collection and community, and refresh our perspectives on the role of the museum. The program is central to the Currier Museum’s mission of connecting our audiences with art and creative thinking, whether of the past or the future. We hope to learn from our visiting artists – and be surprised by their perspectives.
Artists working in all media participate in the AIR program, which has three main components: 1) an open call to support emerging artists making socially engaged art; 2) an invitational through which artists are selected to develop special projects, commissions, or exhibitions; and 3) artist-led, community-centered public art projects in the city of Nashua, NH.
Open Call for Artist in Residence Applications
Our annual open call is currently live from October 1 – December 1, 2022. Artists who share the museum’s goal of positively impacting communities through the transformative power of art are encouraged to apply to this residency.