Saturday, May 25, 2013

Never Ask If That's Someone's Husband, AKA: The Things You Learn At Your Very First Art Exhibition

Last night was the opening night of the Senior Studio Art Majors Show at the Wriston Art Center Galleries. It was the first time most of us had exhibited a project in that capacity. I was lucky enough to have my mom, aunt, Josh, Alli, and the guy who gave me my tattoo show up to see the show! If you missed it, it will be up all summer, and I highly recommend you go check it out. The rest of the show looked amazing, but of course the highlight for me was finally seeing the installation of my work:

For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People: 
The National Parks as America's Best Sources of Nutrition (2013)
Installation Shot

Although it was awesome to see my work up on a wall, I will criticize the way that Wriston handles its senior exhibition. Students are not allowed to see the exhibition until opening day, and a team of individuals installs the exhibit according to a detailed set of instructions submitted by the student. This is not the way it would work in the real world, and does not provide any kind of learning experience for the student. In the real world, the gallery would have flown me in from Milan (haha) to install the exhibition and I would have been there for every nail screwed into the wall. The crew did a great job, and I was happy with the way that everything looked, but it was nerve-wracking thinking that something could be out of place or missing when I walked into the room. 

But really, I shouldn't be complaining. I got to wear a fabulous dress, drink free alcohol, hang out with friends and family, and see some good art. Not to mention all my supportive art and art history professors were there to see the show, and a lot of people told me they would be interested in buying mugs. I'm still trying to work out the logistics of that one/ get over the fact that people actually want to buy them. 

If you've been missing my blog posts the last couple of weeks (yes, I know you've all missed them terribly), I'm honestly not quite sure which direction the blog will take over the summer. My arts administration internship will probably provide me with a wealth of topics to write about, so if you're interested in learning about the logistics of Rural-Art-Community-Engagement, stay tuned. If not, what is wrong with you????

: ) 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mike Kelley's Thrift Shop Reality

In the realm of art history it's definitely not out of the ordinary to research dead artists. However, it can be a bit jarring when the artist in question has died so recently, and not of natural causes. Mike Kelley's suicide in 2012 shocked and saddened the art world. He was credited as being one of the most influential artists of the 21st century. His queer brand of thrift shop/basement art makes us question the reality of domestic settings.

One of Kelley's most favorite mediums was the teddy bear:

More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid, 1987

Above is a tapestry that Kelley created out of teddy bears, crochet, and other domestic/thrift shop items. The mix of high and low culture in the museum setting causes us to ponder the meaning of these items. Are they utilitarian? ie: does their role as toys make them a useful object. Is play even useful to us? Placing them on a wall also forces us to consider their aesthetic qualities. The placement of crochet (which is often seen as a feminine craft) in a museum also challenges the artistic value of craft, and why it is not seen as high art. 

In this Art 21 video clip Kelley discusses his reputation as a bad boy. He probably wasn't a bad boy, but that's what the media made him out to be. Kind of like Pollock. I guess the media just can't handle an artist's "real" personality if it doesn't mesh with the kind of work that they produce. His suicide fits only too well with what the media wanted him to be.

Click here to learn more about Mike Kelley on Artsy!