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Robert Morris, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud (detail), 1981. Pigment on linen. Two sheets: 114 x 90 inches (289.56 x 228.6 cm) each. Two pillow cases: 20 x 36 inches (50.8 x 91.44 cm) each. Edition of 8 (5 on linen, 3 on satin). Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Robert Morris, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud (detail), 1981. Pigment on linen. Two sheets: 114 x 90 inches (289.56 x 228.6 cm) each. Two pillow cases: 20 x 36 inches (50.8 x 91.44 cm) each. Edition of 8 (5 on linen, 3 on satin). Photo credit: Stan Rhys.
Robert Morris, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud (detail), 1981. Pigment on linen. Two sheets: 114 x 90 inches (289.56 x 228.6 cm) each. Two pillow cases: 20 x 36 inches (50.8 x 91.44 cm) each. Edition of 8 (5 on linen, 3 on satin). Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Robert Morris, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud (detail), 1981. Pigment on linen. Two sheets: 114 x 90 inches (289.56 x 228.6 cm) each. Two pillow cases: 20 x 36 inches (50.8 x 91.44 cm) each. Edition of 8 (5 on linen, 3 on satin). Photo credit: Stan Rhys.
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Robert Morris

Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud belongs to an unofficial series of works exploring the dark themes of nuclear destruction and death that Robert Morris began in the early 1980s. A bed comprised of sheets and pillowcases, this project presents a literal and ominous vision of world events gone terribly astray. To create the bottom sheet, Morris painted a human skeleton with ink and rolled it on fabric to give the effect of a moving, turning, restless corpse. This print was then used to make a silkscreen, from which the finished linen sheets were printed. The top sheet is laden with images of mushroom clouds from a nuclear explosion, also silkscreen printed on linen. The pillowcases offer printed text (taken from the writings of physicist Ted Taylor) reviewing the practical potential of nuclear destruction, which heightens the nightmarish terror implied by the tousled sheets. One paragraph states that “it would be difficult to achieve erasure with a single thermonuclear device . . .” while the other gives a more pragmatic prediction of destruction: “ . . . more practical and more certain would be the utilization of several dirty, fairly high megaton yield devices . . .”

Created during the beginning years of the Reagan era when the Cold War still dominated world politics, Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud holds new relevance today with the fear of nuclearterrorism.

Bio
American, born 1931, lives and works in New York City
Robert Morris played a pivotal role in the early development of Minimalism during the 1960s by creating simple sculptural forms, which were often used as props for dance performances. He was also one of the first artists to use a textile form—felt—as the medium for ambitious sculpture, and his early works in felt played with the pliability and sensuousness of the material. Morris had his first one-person exhibition at the Dilexi Gallery in San Francisco in 1957, and since then he has earned a place among the most influential American artists of the late 20th century. Other exhibitions have included major retrospectives at the Centre George Pompidou, Paris (1995), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1994), as well as one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1986), the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1977), The Tate Gallery in London (1971), and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1970).