Air: 24 Hours, Eleven A.M.

Media - 1997.49 - SAAM-1997.49_1 - 12805
Copied Jennifer Bartlett, Air: 24 Hours, Eleven A.M., ca. 1991-1992, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Barney A. Ebsworth, 1997.49, © 1992, Jennifer Bartlett

Artwork Details

Air: 24 Hours, Eleven A.M.
ca. 1991-1992
Not on view
84841 58 in. (213.4213.44.1 cm)
© 1992, Jennifer Bartlett
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Barney A. Ebsworth
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Object — written matter — newspaper
  • Object — other — container
  • Allegory — time — day
Object Number

Artwork Description

Jennifer Bartlett painted twenty four canvases marking each hour in a day at her studio. Here, strips of wall paneling and flooring represent the sixty minutes and thirty-six hundred seconds in an hour. But the artist throws in several confusing elements to destabilize this orderly and rational grid. A viewer can barely tell where the floor ends and the wall begins. Blue squares evoke windows and solid objects simultaneously. Throughout the painting, this same blue pushes out through gaps in the brown grid, as though the studio were about to disintegrate. A lurid tabloid and other seemingly unrelated objects suggest a story that we can't quite pin down. Bartlett claims that she has "an infinite capacity for work and none for reflection," and she may have intended only to record the appearance of her studio at a particular moment. The newspapers, packing material and boxes, however, suggest events "out there" intruding on the tightly controlled world of Bartlett's studio.