Sam Gilliam spoke to oral historian Donita Moorhus in October 2010 about his thoughts when creating his site-specific work , Flour Mill, for The Phillips Collection stairway:
“I want to make the piece completely new. I want to give myself a break and not use past ideas but sort of launch something that I want to do. … One of the things that is interesting about [Arthur] Dove is the isolation he had, living in a certain place- I think he lived in a houseboat- or living off his own garden and living with a view sort of out the window, walking each morning, communicating with Georgia O’Keeffe, talking to other artists, and things like this, so that you see mini progressions, and you see a certain kind of openness, not the way that we necessarily work today…”
Gilliam will continue to explore this work’s relationship to Dove in conversation with curator Renee Maurer at 6:30 pm tonight , March 31, in the galleries.