Stars Falling on Alabama: We Are Enraptured by the Celestial Fireworks of the Muses
North America, American, Washington
252 in. x 608 in. (640.08 cm x 1544.32 cm)
Medium and Support:
Vitreous enamel on glass
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Commission
Currently On View
"Stars Falling on Alabama: We Are Enraptured by the Celestial Fireworks of the Muses" was commissioned by the Museum on February 7, 2005, for installation in the Lowder Gallery of the 2006 Education Wing expansion. The work consists of three series of windows of painted glass on the Museum's eastern facade. The artist, Cappy Thompson, is one of the most important glass artists in the United States, and a member of Seattle, Washington's thriving community of contemporary Studio Glass artists.
The center panel assembly is twenty-two feet high and is the primary element of the composition, which features an encounter between earthly and heavenly creatures. A host of celestial beings – winged muses and personifications of the sun and moon – shower artistic inspiration in the form of fireworks on the figures below who draw, make music, or simply marvel at the heavenly wonder. The title of the installation is inspired by the song “Stars Fell on Alabama” written in 1934 by Mitchell Parrish and Frank Perkins, recorded by dozens of artists over the years. In turn, the song’s theme is indirectly derived from the historic Leonid meteor shower of November 12th and 13th, 1833, which nineteenth-century Americans called “the night of raining fire,” or “the night the stars fell.” That celestial show was so dramatic that many believed it an omen portending heavenly intervention.