Friday, July 23, 2010

Research project update

Two important events from NCECA this spring connected in my mind and gave me an idea. First, I attended the The Hermaphrodites: Living in Two Worlds exhibition curated by Leslie Ferrin. Some of the pieces in the exhibition seemed to be only marginally related to the curatorial theme. While it was a very popular exhibition, I left wondering if the exhibition would have been more effective if it included work by artists working outside of ceramics. Adelaide Paul's artworks were mostly not ceramic, but she has a strong relationship and history with the ceramic community.

Later I stepped in for a few minutes of the curating panel discussion. The curator who was speaking, I'm sorry I don't know her name, was talking about her idea for an exhibition about the politics of hair. She said she tried to put together an exhibition around that theme, but couldn't find enough (ceramic) work to fill the show. Her solution was to dilute the theme of the exhibition to include other ceramic artists.

I think curators have the position and power to create and draw attention to the conceptual and cultural connections that can be found across mediums. Surely there are artists in all mediums who focus on the topics of hermaphroditism or hair. These are things that affect us all!

My research project is to curate an exhibition that focuses on an art movement and gives equal attention to ceramics and other mediums. Pop Surrealism is the movement I have chosen. I finally received an important text on the movement, Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art edited by Kristen Anderson, and I am happy to report that Charles Kraft is in there. Otherwise, there is a conspicuous absence of three-dimensional objects in the book.

It's actually really easy to think of ceramic artists who make work that would fit in the Pop Surrealist camp. So far, the challenge for me is familiarizing myself with the artists who work in other mediums.


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