iveyhdM.A.D., (Mutual Assured Destruction) showcases Texas-born, Philadelphia-based sculptor H. D. Ivey’s first solo show. The exhibition gathers for the first time 14 large-scale sculptures, (most of them never publicly displayed) that when viewed collectively, weave a complex narrative exploring the dark side of US empire building through the pursuit of nuclear power. These works create a cohesive and varied narrative highlighting the social, economic, political and environmental costs of such a determined pursuit;  a policy whose primary interest (above all else) were and are the establishment of US  military supremacy over others.

Ivey’s sculptures force the viewer to confront the magnitude and scale of a manufactured, ongoing, fear-based crisis, whose zeitgeist has pervaded every facet of American pop culture. The show requires the viewer to confront and examine his or her contributions to the self-propagating narrative of M.A.D., and to question the basis of the mythology of vulnerability and power engendered in such delusions. Mechanicals, drawings and studies will also form a part of the show, giving the audience a more detailed view of the rich symbolic language used by the artist to communicate both the complexity and terrifying power of our nuclear knowledge. Video footage of Bruce Connex, Cross Roads, 1976, and Bikini Atoll, July 25, 1947 and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis will also form part of the exhibition allowing the viewer a historical context through which to link Ivey’s sculptures and their narrative power.

Shaped by his experiences growing up in Texas, Ivey’s personal narrative is intrinsically tied to that of the historical time line in the development of, and use of US nuclear power.

Working in a variety of mediums (stone, marble, wood, metal and leather) Ivey’s work is both overpowering in scale, yet intimate in the details he wants you to see. A recurring theme in his work for example are the missiles themselves; large in scale, carved in wood and brightly painted, they shine with a light all their own, a play between beguiling beauty and danger. Some missiles are covered by detailed, repetitive motifs such as skulls, vines,  and flowers, making use of both Mexican and Mesoamerican iconography as an important part of the narrative script that oftentimes inform the pieces, and which point to Ivey’s Texas roots. Other sculptures are slick and simple in form like M.A.D., while others are much more ornate.

“In 1954 the twins blew out five candles on their birthday cake and that same month the US blew up Bikini Atoll in the (Marshall Islands) with a “deliverable” thermonuclear (hydrogen weapon), which due to its unexpectedly large yield caused the worst radioactive ecological disaster in US History” Excerpted from the artist’s memoirs.


One of twins, H. D. Ivey was born in 1949 in Andrews Texas with twin sister Cheryl. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and has participated in both solo and group show exhibitions in both Philadelphia and Texas including the group shows; Witness: 30 Artists Respond to 30 Years of the AIDS Pandemic, Strike First. His work has also been exhibited at University of the Arts, The Levy Gallery, More College of Art, The Painted Bride, The Art Armory, Philadelphia Port of History Museum, the Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin Texas, and the Alterative Museum in New York City among others.

In the 1990s Ivey was involved in political and cultural arts activism which included the culture wars. He wrote for the Arts Examiner and Z Magazine on the art controversies which embroiled the NEA as well as AIDS activism through ACT UP Philadelphia. Over the past 20 years Ivey has focused primarily on producing a wide range of work in his Northern Liberties studio.

(Mutual Assured Destruction)

H.D. Ivey

Opening Reception
Saturday, July 9, 2015
6:00 — 10:00 PM

July 9 — 31, 2015

Crane Arts Building
1400 North American Street
Philadelphia, PA

Presented by

 Casa de Duende + Physicians for Social Responsibility