Wall to Wall

Merritt Johnson

October 6, 2020 through Spring 2021 - 8th Avenue Lobby, Oscar's Cafe

The Birmingham Museum of Art is pleased to announce Wall to Wall, a new ongoing project that invites artists to activate the Museum’s lobby and cafe with artwork inspired by the city. Recognizing the lobby and cafe as vital places of exchange and communal gathering, the BMA seeks to make these spaces more accessible by providing immersive, site-specific experiences created uniquely for the Museum. 

The inaugural iteration of Wall to Wall will feature four works created by Alaska-based artist Merritt Johnson. These works have been constructed into large wall coverings that stretch across the lobby and cafe walls, creating an immersive exhibition experience. After visiting Birmingham and learning about its environment and inhabitants, Johnson created the works which she calls “… love letters to land and water, and the resilience and wisdom they contain. They are acknowledgements of the weight recent human behavior has placed on them, and on the gravity of the imbalances current behavior and legislation enforces.”

In each painting, Johnson considered the land and water of Birmingham while also exploring the ways people have recently devalued land in search of profit. Johnson’s work engages the intersectional harm to land, water, and communities of color resulting from coal and steel industries, institutional and environmental racism in which communities of color are disproportionately harmed. Her work for the Museum suggests the obstructions we build, limiting our capacity to see land, water, and each other; the inevitability of our connection, and the beauty, abundance, and resilience of the land as an example for us to follow.