Hap Tivey at Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts

Hap Tivey, whose work is featured in the permanent collections of Guggenheim Museum in New York and Spain, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and Picasso Studio in Paris, is a pioneer of the light and space movement.

Tivey's Sodium Exchange, in the permanent collection in New York's Guggenheim will be on loan to THELMA's Contemporary Wing beginning in September. The exhibit is part of THELMA Week, the grand opening for the newly redesigned arts center September 10-14. Tivey’s Sodium Exchange will be exhibited in THELMA’s Contemporary Wing until November 10.


Sodium Exchange involved two rooms with independent entrances separated by a two way projection screen mounted in a frame of industrial strength cardboard.  The light source on one side was a sodium street lamp mounted in a sculpture that faced the screen.  The light source on the other side of the screen was a xenon film projector.  The screen's cardboard frame was scaled to fit the film projection frame. A visitor entering the xenon film projector side would see the projector running without film sending its white beam onto a screen of continuous gold light.  Voices from the other side were clear, but no one was visible.  Other than color, the screen seemed to be empty; the frame filled with infinite light lacking any apparent surface.  

A visitor entering the sodium side first saw a room that appeared yellow and a screen that appeared white with shadows moving across it, if other visitors were moving through the xenon projector's beam in the opposite room.  After approximately one minute, the visitor's vision would adapt to the yellow spectrum of sodium light and the room would fade to white.  Simultaneously the screen would become a vivid blue and shadows would begin to appear the color of cardboard.  Voices were clear and shadows cast by the projector changed scale depending on their distance from the screen.  Exhibitionists tended to collect on the projector side and construct filmic events for observers on the sodium side.