Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A show proposal

On returning from a thankfully brief trip to see maternal family members in New York this weekend I am realizing that I have so much catch-up reading to do, that it just may not happen. From what I have gleaned so far though, the discussion over at Thoughtmarker right now on group shows and the roles of critics-curators-artists in these shows is certainly worth taking a look at.

Perhaps as a supplemental post to said discussion, I wanted to talk about a show that I am currently working on getting on its feet for January at Eyedrum. On my flight into New York I finished Michael Kimmelman's An Accidental Masterpiece and became really interested in one essay that he wrote on Hugh Francis Hicks, who was a dentist in New York who collected lightbulbs throughout his entire life. His obsessive collecting resulted in the largest private lightbulb collection in the world and consequently a personal museum in his basement. Call it peeping tom syndrome, but I have always had a certain fascination with the private sector of peoples lives. That has manifested itself in fairly bengign forms of snooping in people houses to see what exactly is on their bookshelves (and more importantly which books appear to have actually been read), taking note of exactly what kind of soap people like to use in their bathrooms, what is displayed on the mantle as opposed to a nightside table. More recently, since the beginning of undergrad specifically, this has shifted more to the makeup of artist studios. Not surprisingly, the most telling thing about an artist's work is in how they keep their studio. After reading Kimmelman's essays, I started thinking about this tendency of collecting in artist's work as well as the pack rats who unknowingly become collectors in the same way as Hicks.

Charles Wilson Peale, The Artist in his Museum

In the 16th and 17th centuries in Holland, before the modern-day concept of the museum came about, collectors of anything and everything held a similar status to that of the Met or the Tate Modern today. Collections became iconic symbols of the society. The underlying interest in these earlier forms of the museum though, certainly touch on this innate fascination in peoples life. In the same way that you can learn about a person through what they choose to present to the public, the undisclosed is always where the most captivating details are present.

On a local level, artists like Tom Zarilli, Susan Cipcic, and Susan Winton have all managed to merge their private lives and the objects that they find and collect in their quotidian routine into a kind of self-portrait of themselves. What my plan is, as of now, for this show is to work more in the mindset of these archaic museums, or "wonder boxes," which they were originally called. Perhaps showcasing side-by-side both the colelcted objects that become the artwork, as well as the finished projects.

I have certainly not worked out all of these details yet, but it always helps to write these things out.

[EDIT] More visuals that I am thinking about in relation to this show, not directly, but as background visual cues.

Joseph Cornell,
Hotel Eden


Cinque said...

A few other artists interesting in that regard: Kevin Sipp, Lisa Alembik, and didn't someone just do a big "collection" show at Emory?

Good luck!

Miss Darrow said...

Linda Armstrong just had that show at Emory. Atlanta is riddled with artists that fit the bill for this show.

My only concern for the show is the two year rule with artists at Eyedrum. A lot of people that I would like to use have showed there too recently. Lisa Alembik and Stan Woodard both showed last year, and they would have been great candidates. At the same time though, ther are PLENTY of other artists in Atlanta who haven't showed recently who will be great.

I think that this will be a good show for Atlanta artists, becuase so many people are using found materials in their work right now.

Jonathan said...

Two year rule? Did not know about that...

But more importantly, can I join your book club?

Miss Darrow said...

The two year rule was oly recently put into place because of a number of artists who were showing too many times too close to each other. It was starting to look like a club.

Speaking of clubs, book club always.