Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004-1685
Inspired by the annual migration of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico, Carlos Amorales conceived of Black Cloud as a “plague” of moths that swarm through museum spaces. 25,000 black paper moths and butterflies of 30 different species seem to hover in mid-air, a surreal yet sublime gathering of insects delicately poised in sculptural formations. The artist invented this idea while visiting his grandmother. He has described it as his way of saying goodbye to her—an intensely personal origin for an artwork that inspires a universal sense of wonder in each of us. Nevertheless, the title implies an underlying sense of foreboding. These thousands of uncanny insects envelop us in an experience fluctuating between beauty and awe, the fanciful and the macabre, calm and calamity. Black Cloud exemplifies what art critics have called Amorales’ “gothic sensibility,” while also bringing the raw beauty of untamed nature into the museum.
Carlos Amorales is one of the most celebrated Mexican artists working today. He was chosen to represent Mexico at the 2017 Venice Biennial, one of the highest international honors for an artist. He works in a wide variety of media, including video, painting, drawing, sculpture, and performance.