Shane Huffman, Space Shuttle Challenger, 2005

Shane Huffman

Shane Huffman’s installation in the front room of the Locker Plant was based on media images of the Space Shuttle Challenger crash of January 28, 1986. A tall, solitary sculpture, varying in width from approximately four inches to four feet and constructed from wood, cotton batting, and wire, hung suspended from the ceiling to the floor. The sculpture’s silhouette was instantly recognizable from countless photographs: the Challenger exploding in midair, with trails of smoke fanning out through the sky. Hanging in the otherwise empty gallery, the sculpture attempted to memorialize a historical calamity and restore a sense of tragic immediacy to an overly familiar image. Also included in the exhibition were photographs Huffman made during his residency. The artist developed a technique enabling him to make one long photograph from a roll of film rather than multiple small-frame images. Utilizing a very long exposure time, Huffman photographed himself sitting outside on the Chinati grounds as the moon rose in the early-evening sky. The resulting work, displayed on the wall of the Locker Plant’s back room, documented subtle variations in motion and light effects and seemed to be steeped in an eerie lunar glow.

In 2002 Huffman received a M.F.A. from the University of Illinois in Chicago after completing his B.F.A. at the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the recipient of a Richard Driehaus Foundation Individual Artist Award, 2003, and the Union League Civic Foundation Visual Arts Scholarship, 2002. Huffman has participated in numerous group shows, including Rough Topography, at Vendata Gallery, Chicago, 2002, and Operation: Human Intelligence at ANUM, Memphis, 2002. Solo exhibitions include Swimming to give myself a heart attack in order to stop the moon’s recession at Gallery 400, Chicago, 2002.