Blog / A week with Satch Hoyt

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By Renee

Yesterday was Satch Hoyt’s last day in Durham, and it’s a bittersweet departure.  Bitter as the Nasher staff members will be in withdrawal as the clever, social and energetic artist makes his way back to Berlin; yet sweet as Satch’s newest work Celestial Vessel is nearly complete and ready to be accompanied by one of his “soundscapes” for The Record exhibition.

Even before his departure to Durham, Satch’s schedule was jam-packed. When he arrived, however, he had what all organizations hope for when hosting an artist residency: a playfully opportunistic attitude.  For the first five days of production, the Nasher’s photographer, Dr. Jay Caldwell, was able to capture the evolution of Satch’s newest work Celestial Vessel.  This work transformed from a simple drawing on a 16 foot sheet of craft paper into a three-dimensional canoe comprised of a steel armature and approximately 250 RCA Victor Red Seal 45-rpm records (click here to see the photostream).  Satch willingly accommodated the daily requests by Duke Students and local media for interviews, despite his busy schedule.

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After kicking off his sandals, Satch sits on the Durham Central Park bench outside his studio, and shares his encyclopedic knowledge on the African Diaspora, music, art and its overall relationship to his work. Photo by J. Caldwell

In addition to the above-mentioned, Satch gave a slide presentation to Duke Professor Rick Powell’s class on Tuesday evening, and even opened up his studio (located at Liberty Arts) to Duke sculpture students and their professor William Noland for a brief introduction to Celestial Vessel.  Christina Chia, Assistant Director for Programs and Communications at the Franklin Humanities Institute, invited Satch to participate in the John Hope Franklin Center’s lunch and a lecture series where Satch enthusiastically revealed much about his artistic practices.  These include traveling with the musical “Hair“ at age thirteen, recording music with Louise Bourgeios, playing flute in music writer Greg Tate’s band Burnt Sugar, and visually merging aurality with objects of art into an often interactive experience.

Too add to his laundry list of activities, Satch managed to squeeze in a visit to the Nasher’s Africa and Picasso exhibition (as he is an avid collector of African tribal works), host an open studio event during Durham’s Third Friday art walk, enjoy a delicious veggie burger by locally celebrated mobile vendor Only Burger, and even accept an invitation by my husband to shred it up on Guitar Hero after we all went out for dinner.

So when I got to work yesterday morning, it was bittersweet.  No more progress to be seen on Celestial Vessel, no more events to attend where I learned more and more about Satch the artist and person, and no more late nights playing Guitar Hero with my short-lived neighbor (Satch stayed at Duke Towers near my apartment druing his residency).  As I reminisce about the successful week, I’ll leave you with some great images and reviews to absorb:

A PDF describing Satch’s work, SV.HOYT.pdf, definitely worth the read

“Alphabetical Justice” 2004


“Kick That” 2006


“Enter the Dragon”


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“Say it Loud” 2004

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