War, Peace, and Moore’s “Atom Piece”

October 10, 2018


Seventy-five years ago, the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction took place on the campus of the University of Chicago. Fifty years ago, a bronze by Henry Moore was erected to mark the site, a work known by its owners as Nuclear Energy. The artist himself called it Atom Piece, suggesting an alternative reading of the atom’s unleashed force. Both interpretations are still visible today, present in the sculpture, the process by which it was made, and the explosive tensions it seems to keep in balance.

Anne Wagner (Class of 1936 Professor Emerita, University of California, Berkeley) delivers this lecture, which is supported by the Rhoda Pritzker Fund for Lectures on Modern British Art.