Julia and Varina Take Tea

October 1st, 2010 Comments Off on Julia and Varina Take Tea

Annie Coggan’s theoretical work is research-based.   Reading history, visits to house museums and pilgrimages to historic sites results in a built manifestation, a chair and room, a place. The work tries to examine questions of economics, sensibility and cultural values by reinventing the material culture of the subject. The research provides the impetus for design decisions and offers a take on history, identity and values by embellishing the reality with design interventions.

Most recently her focus has been on the collection of ephemera that resides at the Ulysses S. Grant Collection at Mississippi State University.  For the collection’s reading room, Coggan designed two upholstered pieces of furniture that would illustrate Grant’s military movements through the Mississippi countryside during the Civil War. These pieces are on view courtesy of the Ulysses S. Grant Collection.

Coggan’s method of working through embroidery and upholstered furniture is part of a career- long exploration the relationship between furniture and storytelling. For this exhibition, Coggan has developed a sitting room that depicts the meeting of Ulysses S. Grant’s widow, Julia Grant, and Jefferson Davis’ widow, Varina Davis, in New York City long after the Civil War.  The stories on the furniture illustrate the journeys the two women each made through the war years.

The Visual Arts Center exhibition will also include drawings from the series “Julia Grant’s Opera Shawl and All that it Suggests,” as well as earlier drawings and chairs from the Walker Evans series.

These works are on view from October 4th, 2010 to October 28th, 2010. The gallery hours are Tue-Fri 10am to 4pm, Saturday 2pm to 4pm.

Visual Arts Center 1, 808 University Drive, Starkville, Mississippi