Art & Design: Robert Morris' "Restless Sleepers" Explores Nuclear Destruction Theme

Robert Morris, Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud, 1991
Silkscreen on linen, 114 x 90" Created in collaboration with FWM

"These ghostly and ominous bed sheets were created at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) at the height of the Cold War, during the Reagan years, when apocalyptic themes were central to Morris' work.
At this time, the work produced at the FWM tended to focus on fabric and printing, rather than the broad array of alternative materials used here today. As a result, Morris produced a work distinctive from his other pieces, which are mostly sculptural.
To create Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud, Morris painted a human skeleton with ink and rolled it on white fabric. The resulting skeleton prints were then assembled into an image that was screen-printed onto a bed sheet. These sheets are one of the most literal of his pieces exploring the theme of nuclear threat."

This artwork felt very timely to me. Morris' evocative piece brings to light a nagging fear that, I think, resides in all of us to some degree...that although the Cold War is over and whether in the form of nuclear warfare devices or nuclear power plants; seems we still have much to fear from nuclear energy. Part of the permanent collection of the Fabric Workshop & Museum 
in Philadelphia, PA.


  1. It's a scary world, so we all need to enjoy ourselves while we can. It could all end tomorrow -- if not by some apocalyptic spasm, then by any one of us single beings dying from cancer, or passing away from a heart attack, or getting killed in a car accident, or being shot by a maniac, or . . . .

    Live life, and love with passion those desires
    That make our memories and stoke our fires.

    Whoa! I think I got my mojo back. Even though I am mentally exhausted after working several hours on a writing project, and physically hurting after spending a couple of hours working on my roof and a couple of more hours dong other physical work around the house on Thursday. Hey, is that any way for an old man to spend his day!

  2. YES!! MikeB is back! Your poem offers great advice on living well!! Happy to see Mike's got his mojo back!!