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.