Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 2015
In their ongoing series of projects that use fruit as a material to investigate culture and explore social engagement, Los Angeles–based art collaborative Fallen Fruit (David Burns and Austin Young) created a discursive exhibition about the history of Omaha. The artists took the apple as their focus, probing its rich symbolism and regional provenance, dating back to the Oregon Trail.
During a research trip to Omaha in April of 2015, Fallen Fruit began to mine the Great Plains Black History Museum collection that was being temporarily stored at the Bemis Center. “As we opened boxes, some of them molded from years of dampness, the objects began to construct a complex picture about the things we leave behind,” said Fallen Fruit. “In time, the objects that once held meaning to us are rediscovered by others, telling them intimate stories about people and place.”
Continuing their research, Fallen Fruit visited the Joslyn Museum, El Museo Latino, the Phillip Schrager Collection of Contemporary Art, and Omaha Public Library. The artists gathered an eclectic mix of borrowed books, letters, tchotchkes, domestic objects, and works of art — including pieces from Bemis Center’s collection of artworks by past artists-in-residence — and assembled them against the backdrop of their signature fruit-themed wallpaper.
Images courtesy the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE. Photographer: Colin Conces. Video by Clark Creative.