On view September 23–December 10, 2022
One of the Tarble’s two inaugural exhibitions in 1982 was an installation of black-and-white photography capturing various stages of the museum’s construction. Taken by EIU’s staff photographer Gene Wingler, these photographs documented the process by which physical space was transformed over time. For the Table’s 40th anniversary, we are revisiting a body of work that was itself a look back in time to a plot of land becoming a museum, one site yielding itself into another.
Visible in several of the pictures is a sign reading, “FUTURE SITE . . . Tarble Arts Center,” which anticipates a new structure (building, noun) by signaling the physical work of the same name (building, verb). Inasmuch as “FUTURE SITE” invites us to project ourselves forward in time and envision pure possibility—that is, to have futuresight—such imagining entails a coequal responsibility to look back, hindsight, and reflect on the present as what had once been the future. From where have we come, and where will we go from here?