In concert with KU’s selection of Notes from No Man’s Land by Eula Biss as its Common Book for the 2012-13 academic year, the Spencer Museum of Art has selected a sculptural work depicting a pull toy titled Impending Future Bus as its Common Work of Art. Like Notes from No Man’s Land, the work is a contemporary exploration of identity as it relates to perceptions of race, place, and history. Regier, an artist currently working in Wichita, Kansas, creates toys that emulate those produced in the 1950s-60s while interjecting a contemporary critique of issues such as masculinity, race, and the notion of fantastic future technological or societal utopias prevalent in that era. Regier was inspired to produce the toy after listening to an NPR segment on the changing racial demographics in America and the impending minority status of white Americans. The toy can also be appreciated in relation to Ray Bradbury’s 1951 short story from The Illustrated Man, “The Other Foot,” in which Mars has been colonized exclusively by black people who plan to segregate an anticipated group of white people. The work resonates with connections to place, particularly Kansas, as the artist notes, “Impending Future Bus was made in Kansas, where the sky is always present or imminent. I thought of that when I made the bus' 'vista view' windows, reminiscent of the cross-country buses and trains of the referenced era.” It, like Biss’s essays, provides an opportunity to explore and address notions of personal identity and selfhood relative to a particular context and community.
Impending Future Bus will be on view throughout the 2012-13 academic year in the 20/21 Gallery of the museum and therefore will be accessible during regular museum hours. Potential additional programming will include a dialogue with the artist and the opportunity for discovery of additional works of art from the collection related to topics explored in the Common Book that will be accessible digitally through the museum’s website, or through viewing appointments in the Print Study Room.