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Maker(s):Abbott, Berenice
Culture:American (1898-1991)
Title:The Science Pictures: Spinning Wrench
Date Made:1982
Materials:Gelatin silver print
Measurements:Mat: 24 in x 30 in; 61 cm x 76.2 cm; Sheet: 4 5/8 in x 19 5/16 in; 11.7 cm x 49.1 cm
Narrative Inscription:  INSCRIPTION: recto, lwr. l. (pencil): 31/60; SIGNATURE: recto, lwr. r. (pencil): Berenice Abbott; INSCRIPTION: verso, ctr. (stamp, black ink): BERENICE ABBOTT / THE SCIENCE PICTURES; PARASOL PRESS LTD.1982 / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Accession Number:  MH 1983.21.5
Credit Line:Gift of Joseph R. and Ruth Lasser (Ruth H. Pollak, Class of 1947)
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

A wrench shown spinning across the picture frame.

Label Text:
Spinning Wrench disrupts the sense of symmetry that dominates many of Abbott’s other images. The wrench does not seem to move with a direct, purposeful manner but appears to flutter or wobble. Closely following the neck of the wrench as it travels across the frame, we see a row of evenly spaced points (each marked by a black “x”). This is the wrench’s center of mass—the spot at which the wrench could be placed on the tip of a finger and balance perfectly. The center of mass travels across the frame at a constant speed, while the rest of the wrench rotates about it. Physically, this motion is identical to that of a spinning wheel.

-Emma Thackray ’18, Society of Physics Students, Mount Holyoke College (Oct. 2017)

science; tools; movement; patterns; paths

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