Discover Learn

Daily Art Moment: Diane Jacobs

Diane Jacobs is drawn to wool, hair, and paper pulp materials in much of her work. For Jacobs, hair is a material that incorporates our humanity woven into the material’s very history and genetics. It is also a material filled with social taboos and is inherently visceral, coming from one’s own body. In Global Inversion, Jacobs creates a large-scale flat map of the world in which the ocean is represented by wool and land is represented by human hair. A world literally upside down turns right-side-up when viewed through the suspended acrylic ball.

Many of Jacobs’s works speak to contemporary social issues and inequities. In the presence of Global Inversion, one wonders if the overturned world is the alternative perspective as Jacobs suggests: “The inequity between nations and individuals based on their position in life is insurmountable unless we make a radical shift. I am talking about flipping the world upside down and leveling the playing field. People of privilege must give up their position. For that to happen, we need to look in the mirror and instigate radical change.”

Grace Kook-Anderson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art

Detail of acrylic ball suspended by two near-transparent lines and showing the continent of Africa, now right now up, surrounded by distorted images of the other land masses. A portion of map is seen behind it slightly out of focus with Africa at center.

Diane Jacobs (American and Jewish, born 1966), Global Inversion, 2008. Wool felt, human hair, and acrylic ball. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Endowment for Northwest Art, 2018.69.1 © Diane Jacobs