Category Archives: Exhibitions of Note

For the sake of Opulence…

I am flattered to have recently been asked by The Opulent Project to participate in one of their ongoing projects, COSTUME COSTUME. As a result, I’ve been working on making lots of the Pro Nailz pieces the past couple of weeks. As you can tell from the image to the right, I’ve logged many hours painting nails while watching hours of terrible movies. I can barely tell the difference between my living room and a professional nail salon at this point.

The exhibition that I’ve been making the work for, COSTUME COSTUME, investigates the nature and subject of costume jewelry… Costume jewelry has been traditionally viewed as a mass produced, low price point, fashionable yet disposable variety of jewelry. According to The Opulent Project, ‘the original intention of costume jewelry is not to become collectibles or heirlooms but to be fashionable and dispensable when the trend passes. Frequently this jewelry is a mimicry of existing unattainable luxury jewelry or simply of a notion of traditional jewelry.’

The goal of COSTUME COSTUME is to present the limited edition works of designers who have tweaked the identity of costume jewelry to address the conceptual issues associated with this genre of jewelry. The pieces that are represented in this show challenge concepts of value, material, historicism, and identity. ‘By replication and alteration we seek to further remove the simulated jewelry from its origin, thus costuming the costumed…. COSTUME COSTUME.’

I shipped the work that I’m contributing to COSTUME COSTUME out this morning to the ladies of The Opulent Project. It all fit into a small sized USPS priority rate box, which is always nice because the shipping rates are tolerable but also discouraging because it seems like so much artwork and labor should take up more physical space.

Check it out: COSTUME COSTUME will be exhibited with Sienna Gallery at SOFA NY in April 2011, and will then travel to the Heidi Lowe Gallery in August.

New Traditional Jewellery: True Colours

Though I don’t think that I’ll be able to make this exhibition, I wanted to share the information for this years New Traditional Jewellery showcase. The show is a biannual show which is hosted at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem in the Netherlands. This years theme is True Colours, which is more than welcome as we exit the drab season of winter and begin to look for the colorful signs of spring.

Some of my favorites are pictured here:
The top image is a necklace by Tamara Gruner. I appreciate her monochromatic palate, and how the uniformity of the composition transforms the recycled materials into decorative objects that seem much more opulent than they are. The middle image is a necklace titled Show Me Colours 2010, by Denise Julia Reytan, and again features a composition of repurposed materials. The hyper saturation of the colors create a vibrancy that just makes my mouth water! Finally, the bottom image of the multi‐coloured Urban Tribal Necklace of Amanda Caines uses rejected telephone and computer wires made of plastic in bright colors, winding wool around them, fastens vintage fabrics to them and subsequently decorates them with beads.

Gah, I cannot wait for the catologue for this exhibition to come out!
Here is the mission statement for the show:

New Traditional Jewellery is a bi-annual international design competition in the field of contemporary jewellery. Historical or ethnographical carriers of meaning are taken as an incentive to generate new forms. In addition to this general framework there is also a specific theme. After traditional costume, faith and intimacy, this year’s theme is ‘True Colours’. Literally this refers to colour, for example in relation to materials and pigments. Throughout the ages colours and materials, such as gold and silver, often determined the meaning and value of pieces of jewellery. In the 1970’s and ‘80s other materials, such as textiles and Perspex, were also used.

As a result there emerged a new ‘language of colours’. This was an important step in the emancipation of contemporary jewellery. Therefore, ‘True Colours’ is about the history, meaning, value, magic and power of colour. Figuratively speaking, ‘True Colours’ could also mean “showing your true colours” or ‘to unveil your true self’. In this sense the theme could be approached from a social point of view, in which today’s multicoloured society is the main focus of attention. Colour contains information about status and social position. Colour can shout, curse, emancipate, help, judge and segregate.

Colours is a statement.

Off to SOFA Chicago!

Tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn I’ll be starting my journey to Chicago to check out this years SOFA CHICAGO event. The show is an international exhibition of sculptural objects and functional art, and rotates from Chicago to New York to Santa Fe. SOFA presents prominent international galleries and art dealers in a single venue, showcasing art that bridges design, decorative and fine arts.

I’ve never been to a SOFA EXPO before, so I’m super excited to check everything out… and, I hear that Chicago’s the best venue out of the three, so that’s an added bonus! I’m also flattered because Sienna Gallery will be showing some of my new neoprene pieces at the EXPO.

The show opened today, but I’ll still have all of Saturday to wander around the show. Needless to say, I’ll be taking lots of pictures and posting them once I get back!

Dr. Lakra at the Boston ICA

I took a trip up to Boston yesterday morning to visit the Dr. Lakra exhibit at the ICA. The show is only up for another week, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get in to see it sooner because I’d like to experience it again. As it turns out, I’m really taken with Dr. Lakra’s work.

Dr. Lakra is a Mexican born tattoo and fine artist based out of Oaxaca. Dr. Lakra transposes his tattooing craft onto the idealized figures found in vintage 1950’s magazines, onto pinup girls, luchadors, medical educational drawings, and even onto the iconic cupie doll. Lakra reassigns identity by tattooing and enhancing the original subjects with bats, demons, spiders, gang insignia, and traditional cultural body markings. He even uses a real tattoo machine to achieve a believable image on some of his pieces.

Dr. Lakra deals with concepts of beautification and social identification. His works are a carnival of the grotesque, a medley of kitschy erotica, ancient ritual, and hallucinogenic visions fused in a collage of ideologies.

This show was a slightly unbalanced combination of 2D and 3D work, with most of the emphasis being on drawings and installations. I would have personally preferred to see some more objects included in the exhibition, as those objects reflected his working process more directly.

UPDATE~ Here are two images that I took of the installation at the ICA. I used my phone, so the quality is most likely sub-par. Also, you can check out a video of the installation here.

The New Materiality at the Fuller Museum of Craft

A review in last Sunday’s providence journal sparked my interest in the Fuller Museum of Crafts current exhibition, The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. The show presents work that, although made by traditional craft artists, embraces technology as a emotive material. The combination of these two disparate methodologies creates an technology are getting more and more irrelevant.

I’m really interested to check out this show… especially because one of the artists included in New Materiality is the San Francisco based design duo, Mike & Maaike. Mike and Maaike will be showing pieces from their Stolen Jewels line of work… interesting platform to discuss the role that technology can play in today’s contemporary craft world. Traditional boundaries between art, craft, and which is one of my favorites! They will also be participating in the show that I am co-curating this fall, Chromophiliaso, New Materiality will be a good chance to sneak-peek their work before Chromophilia opens.

New Materiality is up through February 6th, 2011 at the Fuller Museum of Craft… check out more info here.

Images: top: 3-D Chair, by Brian Boldon, digital glass decals, float glass, epoxy and aluminum. Bottom: Stolen Jewels #7, Mike and Maaike, leather.

The Hope Diamond

Yeah, so I totally fell prey to all the hype surrounding the Hope Diamond, and I went to go see it on my whirwind tour of D.C. The 45 carat diamond is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History. In my defense, I went to the museum with the intention of visiting their mineral display (which is phenomenal), and didn’t even really know that the Hope Diamond was there.

There were a couple of things about the Hope Diamond that I found really interesting. First, this was the first time that it’s been displayed unset. I felt that this was an honest way to show the diamond without the added distraction of the necklace. Also, the empty necklace without the diamond set in it was stunning on its own. It looked almost lonely in it’s incompleteness, and I really liked the nostalgia and vulnerability of the separation.

The other thing that really threw me about the Diamond was the fact that the exhibit actually addressed the fact that the stone is thought to be cursed. There are stories, although inaccurate, that depict the Hope Diamond originally being stolen from a Hindu Temple or being initially set in a religious sculpture; with the curse resulting from the sacrilege of the stones removal. Although a lot of the stories surrounding the stone are embellished or fabricated entirely, some of the lore is true. Many people who have encountered the diamond have died untimely deaths, from owners to stone setters, to potential thieves. It’s interesting how the history of the stone has been fabricated in such a way as to transform the diamond into an idol to be both feared and worshiped.

Images: original sketch of the Hope Diamond, uncut; Hope Diamond and empty setting at the Smithsonian.

Brian Jungen exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian

While I was in D.C. recently I spent a day touring the mall and the Smithsonian Museums. I’m pretty proud of myself for seeing four monuments, three museums, one gallery, and the White House (much less impressive that I’d imagined) all in one day… it was a serious Americana binge that I’m still recovering from!

One of the best exhibits that I saw was at the National Museum of the American Indian, Brian Jungen: Strange Comfort. The show was amazing, and Jungen’s work was phenomenal. The installation of the show was really impressive, the gallery was dimly lit with spot lights only illuminating the works. It gave a very intimate/anthropological feel to the show. When you enter the gallery space, the first work that you see is a scale whale skeleton made entirely out of white plastic lawn chairs serenely suspended in the dark space. It was really awe inspiring, and considering that I had just come from the Natural History Museum, the dichotomy between form and material was even more conceptually exciting.

Jungen also had on display gas cans which had traditional Native American designs pierced into them. Monarch is pictured above. I really appreciate his honest use of consumer materials and how he blends them together with traditional symbols from his ancestry. He does a good job at transforming the original materials, and having the content become a little more subtle. Another example of this would be the traditional masks that he has stitched out of deconstructed Nike Airs.

The show was great, and I ended up buying the catalog for the show, which is a beautiful publication that has lots of interesting back story on the pieces. If you’re in D.C. this is a show that you really shouldn’t miss!

Field Trip to JewelersWerk Galerie

So, we’ve been working hard to install the show at Honfleur Gallery, and it’s looking great! Although the opening is tomorrow, after making a list of all the tasks that we have left to address, we decided that we had enough time to take the afternoon off and head over to visit JewelersWerk Galerie.

JewelersWerk is a tiny exhibition space nestled into Cady’s Alley, just off of M Street in Georgetown. The gallery is extremely well designed, and features endless display drawers filled with jewelry made by some of today’s most prominent makers. Currently on display is the work of Esther Knobel, a Polish born Israeli artist who has been recently honored with the Andrea M. Bronfman Prize for outstanding Israeli Decorative Arts.

Knobel’s work features enameling, electroformed copper, and other avant sculptural processes with more traditionally recognized jewelry making techniques such as stringing pearls and bead work. I really likes her work, especially the color scheme and the pairing together of contrasting design elements. I also fell in love with the way that her work references organic origins and inspirations.

Esther’s display was also beautifully informal and visually accessible to the viewer. Her pieces were laid out on unstretched canvas, with titles written directly on the fabric and walls. I ended up buying her book, The Mind in the Hand, and can’t wait to dive into it and investigate her studio practice a little more.

I’ve attached a couple images of the gallery, in all it’s compact glory.

Upcoming exhibition: Objectified

So, I’m pretty excited (and a little nervous) to be working with Honfleur Gallery in Washington DC to curate an exhibition titled Objectified: the domestication of the industrial.

Objectified will feature the work of Robert Longyear, Jeanne Jo, Andrea Miller, and Colleen Heineman.

The show brings together the work of four artists utilizing different media, and working in different methods. The commonality that these artists share is a philosophical approach to their subject matter, each artist presented here acts as a conduit transforming common materials and concepts into fine art. Whether transforming detritus into wearable works of art, or meticulously creating a knit codex, the artists of Objectified act as an intermediary, allowing their source materials to become more accessible to the viewer.

Objectified was born of the desire to bring together makers from disparate backgrounds, and working in a variety of ways who all drastically alter their materials as a result of extensive conceptual investigations. The title of the show refers to the artists use of the hand, and the alterations that the artists induce upon their work, each piece yielding an intimate relationship to the viewer. It was also important to have this show represent tangible objects as the results of the concepts and investigations articulated here. Allowing for a physical object to become the final vessel indicative of an arduous creative process emphasizes the complex status of that object.

Honfleur is a wonderful non-profit gallery in the Anacostia neighborhood of DC. And, I actually went to College with their Creative Director, Briony Evans, who was the one to invite me to curate the exhibition there. I’ll be posting more information about the show as the dates get a little closer, including images of the work that will be included.

And, now that I’ve written this blog post I’m not so nervous any more. Much more excited…

Slash: Paper under the Knife

I just realized that the current exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, Slash: Paper under the Knife, is still up for a couple more months. I can’t wait to go check it out, especially after recently seeing Kirsten Hassenfeld’s exhibition of cut paper sculptures at the Bell Gallery. It will be interesting to see so many different artists interpretations of this temporal material.

This show is the third exhibition of MAD’s Materials and Process series, which examines the renaissance of traditional handcraft materials and techniques in contemporary art and design. Slash surveys unusual paper treatments, including works that are burned, torn, cut by lasers, and shredded. A section of the exhibition will focus on artists who modify books to transform them into sculpture, while another will highlight the use of cut paper for film and video animations.

Slash: Paper Under the Knife is up until April 10th. While there, you should also check out Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection, which is up until the 31st of this month. And, finally, if you go on a Thursday nightyou can head up to the 6th floor to check out the museum’s Open Studios program and get the chance to meet and talk with talented artists as they work.

Top image: Your House, 2006 by Olafur Eliasson