Category Archives: influences

orange you glad it’s monday?

Hokey, I know,but I’m in a good mood today. Looking around the gallery, I find that we have a lot of ORANGE things right now—one of my favorite colors–so energizing, uplifting, and positive. In the middle of winter, we could all use a little brightness in our life!

hand-sewn bag and wallet by Gayle Gentry

Clock by Kimberly Erickson

NEW feather earrings by local artist Terri

ceramic bowl by Joe Singewald

hats by Melissa Hahn

musical quote pillow by Gayle Gentry

coasters by Kimberly Erickson

Domino Pendant by Odd Bird Designs

mug by Joe

magnets by Lori Birr

collage postcards by Molly Overstreet

hairclips by lizzellizzel

notecard by Kate Merritt Davis

magnet by The Crafty Hag

Book Report: Words of Wisdom

words of wisdom


I just wrote a summary of Words of Wisdom: A Curator’s Vade Mecum, which is a book published by Independent Curators International. You can read it here. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read about curating contemporary art exhibitions. Whether you are a curator, an artist, or lover of contemporary art, you would find this book very interesting.

There is…much that is said about the fact that there are no set-in-stone rules about curating. This is a good thing. As [curators] Jana Sevcikova and Jiri Sevcik state, “Always do only what interests you and what you believe in. Curating is like any other art form: it only serves to express your relationship to the world. No objective rules apply: there is not even a stable hierarchy of values to guide you. The meaning of images is never anchored by any kind of objective truth. You must not fall for the illusion of such truths, and instead propose questions challenging your own assumptions and especially the norms of the cultural establishment…This is the only way you can develop new relationships and provoke lively conflicts for which there exists no common denominator.”

Read the whole article

Buy the book

Jennifer Marsh

Jennifer Marsh: Lawnmower

I am very excited to announce that Jennifer Marsh will be representing Alabama and Community-Based Medium for the 50 Artists, 50 States, 50 Mediums exhibition!

Jennifer is the founder of the International Fiber Collective, an organization that creates community-based, large-scale fiber projects. You may have heard of her Gas Station Wrapping project, which received a lot of press–including a feature in FiberArts Magazine.

Jennifer’s current project is Interdependence. Participants will create a full-sized tree for display in April 2009 in Huntsville, Alabama. The concept is, “much like a live tree is interdependent on its leaves and roots for survival, societies are interdependent on the greater whole, family units, communities, and countries.”

Participants from around the world are invited to create leaves to contribute to the creation of the tree. In total, up to 30,000 leaves may be used. For more information on how to participate, click here. This is open to all age groups and levels of artistic ability.

Jennifer’s next, highly ambitious project after the tree is wrapping a NASA rocket! But she needs help raising the money to rent the expensive crane required to install the artwork. Click here to see how you can help and become involved. She needs your help!

We are also planning a solo show for Jennifer’s sculpture in the future–stay tuned!

Stephen Day Design

‘Found Object’ sconce
[Radiology film / Walnut / fluorescent lamps]

I’m in love with Stephen Day’s lighting design–and he will be representing California for the 50/50/50 show

I am still accepting submissions for the show, and am looking for unique mediums especially. The following states and mediums are already taken:
Lighting Design, Mixed Media, Pastel, Ceramics, Paper, Silkscreen

Click here for more info on how to submit your work or e-mail me.

Another blurred intersection…

Curating. Just as I am interested in the intersections between the art, craft, and design worlds, so too am I interested in breaking the stereotypes of what it means to be a curator. Labels and stereotypes run rampant in the art world, and I feel compelled to dismiss, ignore, and criticize all of them. What does it mean to be an artist and a curator? I don’t feel my position makes my art or my curating any less valid. After all, people are capable of more than one role in life. I’m a mother too–does my work as an artist and a curator make my parenting any less important?
Of course not.

There has been a lot of talk and criticism of the concept of curating as art. There are contemporary curators like Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ydessa Hendeles that create unique exhibitions that some people consider art (or at least creative). I don’t see anything wrong with this. After all, curators are now coming from various backgrounds–no longer simply art historians–curators like me have something to actually contribute, not just intellectualize, organize, and install.

The group show is most conductive to this type of curating. My exhibitions will be based on curatorial premises or concepts. When I think of an idea for a show, it is very similar to when I think of an idea for artwork. That is not to say that there isn’t a distinction between curating and art. One artist working somewhat within the scope that I am talking about is Julieta Aranda who created projects such as Pawnshop and E-flux video rentals.

Visit the E-flux website for more interesting info & projects

For more that I’ve written on this subject, visit Visual Influence.

I’ve only scratched the surface here–if you are interested in this subject I would recommend the current issue of Art Lies, which includes several in-depth articles on Death of the Curator.

As always, I would be interested in your thoughts–feel free to comment or e-mail me.

the Kohler Arts Center

I drove a little over an hour this morning down to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. Interestingly enough, it’s one of the only major art centers in Wisconsin that I haven’t ever visited. I was more than impressed with the level of professionalism and importance of works displayed. This is definitely my new favorite place to be.

Their main exhibition right now is Messages & Magic: 100 Years of Collage and Assemblage in American Art. Quite the criteria, I thought, especially as I read from the newsletter that the show “is an unprecedented exhibition that traces American popular culture through a century of collage and assemblage.” But I was pleasantly surprised to see works by the likes of:

Peter Sarkisian and this mixed media/video work on a car door
Ray Yoshida, an icon of the Chicago art scene
Lenore Tawney, a very influential textile/collage artist & sculptor
Henry Darger
and many more amazing artists…

There was even a display of Ray Johnson works and an explanation of Mail Art, something near and dear to my heart since I am also involved in this movement.

That was only one of about five exhibits at the Kohler. Another notable exhibition is Wisconsin artist kathryn e martin’s installation Flotant. It is a breathtaking experience that you have to witness. The few pictures available don’t cut it.

The amount of activities available to participate in here are enormous. Classes, performance art, films, residencies, and a myriad of projects. By the time I was ready to leave, I was also ready to write out a check and support this unique art center so close to my home! But even if you don’t have much money, it’s great, because admission is free.

All in all a great experience and I would highly recommend visiting! The collage show runs until January 25, 2009.

Local Events: Craftivism

Craftivism: Reclaiming Craft and Creating Community opens at the Lawton Gallery (UWGB campus) tonight at 4:30. If you are anywhere near the area, you must go see it. I helped install the exhibition with a troop of people plus guest curator, Faythe Levine, a tremendously talented gallery owner from Milwaukee. I blogged about the details of the exhibition on Visual Influence, so for more info hop over there.

I was so excited when I first heard this show was coming to town, and even more so when I met Faythe and saw the inspiring artworks for this exhibition. The Craftivism and DIY culture that has been gathering speed over the past few years have directly influenced the direction for my personal artwork and what artwork I want to have shown in The Eclipse Gallery.

To know that something is made by hand, by someone who cares that you like it, makes that object much more enjoyable.” –Cinnamon Copper & Amy Carlton

Gallery director Stephen Perkins writes, “One indication of the energy of this new movement is the large number of manifestoes being issued by its participants…It’s interesting to me that the world of craft has adopted a strategy from the world of avant-garde art to promote its agenda, and it further suggests that the divide between the two worlds is becoming increasingly blurred.”

That is my sentiment exactly. The reason I want to have handmade design in my gallery is because I do believe that craft, design, and other forms are merging with “fine art” to become legitimatized as Art (with a capital A) in a broader sense of the word. Betsy Greer, author of Knitting for Good, writes, “Until the turn of the last century, the word “craft” was…negatively viewed in the vernacular. Long seen as trivial and somewhat crude and unnecessary thanks to technological advancements, “craft” had long lingered as an activity of the past. But thanks to the timely convergence of the quest for uniquity, frustration against consumerism and materialism, and the internet, “craft” has been rescued and empowered instead of forgotten.

Design Art relates to this–design that is so unique it is sold in galleries as art. This bridge between craft and art, design and art, architecture and art–you see it now in so many areas, even graphic design–where the typical gallery show is being expanded upon and is evolving.

Which brings me to an interview I read with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, a famous Swiss art curator and critic. He stresses that what is important about art or exhibitions is not how large they are or what type of venue they are held in, but the actual content of the show. Obrist says, “It’s not through scale that art or buildings are made important.” I would add to that, location either.

I am so happy that the world today is evolving away from the notion that all good art is made and shown in NYC, London, and Paris. There are artists all over the world, in every corner, creating important artwork. The goal of The Eclipse Gallery will be not only to bring more international contemporary art to Wisconsin, but to create more awareness of the many highly talented, professional Wisconsin artists. Another aspect of the gallery will be creating community, a fundamental issue of Craftivism and the handmade movement. I will have various sections where visitors to my gallery can create work, play, experiment, and most of all have fun. Much like the “laboratory” notion of Obrist.

Obrist says, “The curator is the catalyst of relations and situations….Exhibitions have to go past geographical and cultural boundaires; they must be transgenerational and interdisciplinary.” A very interesting statement from a very interesting person. Do an internet search for more info about Obrist, and you can read a great interview with him here.