Noah's Ark

  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
c. 1980
Found wood, nails, and paint
18.75 x 69 x 14.5 inches
Collection of
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco museum purchase American Art Trust Fund and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Griffin’s Noah’s Ark, inspired by the Old Testament story (Genesis 6–9), renders explicit the artist’s statement that “all my work is like the Testaments.” This extraordinary visual conception appears to conflate the blue waters of the flood, the white sky and clouds, the blood red of the flesh destroyed in the deluge, and the black mountain where the ark came to rest in one abstracted, boat-shaped form. For Griffin, the apocalyptic associations of Noah’s Ark, which saved Noah and his descendants from destruction, may have foreshadowed the slave ships that later condemned Africans and their descendants to bondage in the Americas. —Timothy Anglin Burgard