Robert Wilson. Large Drawing for Spaceship Scene. Design for the opera Einstein on the Beach. 1976

Robert Wilson Large Drawing for Spaceship Scene. Design for the opera Einstein on the Beach 1976

  • Not on view

For the 1976 Byrd Hoffman Foundation/Festival d'Avignon production (premiere Avignon, France). Music by Philip Glass. Choreography by Andrew de Groat and Lucinda Childs. Directed by Robert Wilson

This drawing was made in preparation for Wilson's opera Einstein on the Beach. The four-and-a-half-hour-long piece consists of scenes loosely relating to Albert Einstein's personal life and scientific achievements. Wilson's high-contrast drawing foregrounds luminosity as a central preoccupation of the production, both as a metaphor for knowledge and as the potential, blinding result of Einstein's theories. The spaceship rendered here was the idea of the production's composer, Philip Glass, who said, "My music sounds to me like the motor of a spaceship, so I said I wanted a spaceship in the opera."

Gallery label from Stage Pictures: Drawing for Performance, March 11–August 24, 2009.

This drawing was made in preparation for Wilson's opera Einstein on the Beach. The four-and-a-half-hour-long piece consists of scenes loosely related to Albert Einstein's personal life and scientific achievements. Wilson's high-contrast pencil drawing foregrounds luminosity as a central preoccupation of the production, both as a metaphor for knowledge and as the potentially blinding effect of Einstein's theories. The spaceship rendered here was conceived by the production's composer, Philip Glass, who said, "My music sounds to me like the motor of a spaceship, so I said I wanted a spaceship in the opera."

Gallery label from Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye, November 15, 2014–January 17, 2016.
Medium
Pencil on paper
Dimensions
25 7/8 x 35 5/8" (65.7 x 100.7 cm)
Credit
Gift of Lily Auchincloss
Object number
311.1978
Copyright
© 2019 Robert Wilson
Department
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.