Archive for the ‘cur8or’ Category

Cur8or: Judith Klausner

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Sometimes in an artists life, you reach a point where you just take matters into your own hands. And sometimes, the result literally fits into your hands. Case in point: artist Judith Klausner, creator of what is quite possibly the world’s smallest art museum.

Nestled in an 16 inch-wide space between two establishments in Somerville’s Union Square, the Mµseum, or the Micro Museum, showcases (very) small-scale works by New England artists. Judith, a past winner of a Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship, received a grant from the Awesome Foundation to support the project. Here, Judith undertakes our Cur8or eight questions.

Being the curator of the Micro Museum is like being a) dandelion spores, b) oxygen, c) a very quiet psychedelic rock song. I have to go with dandelion spores, for no deeper reason than that I love dandelion puffs! I can come up with a deeper rational though, give me a sec… Being the curator of the smallest art museum in the world is like being dandelion spores because if I do my job right, little pieces of creative thought spread outwards from our little institution and take root in the larger community.

What is the best museum experience you’ve ever had? That’s a hard question to answer, there are so many kinds of positive museum experiences. There are the museum exhibits where I’ve most connected with the work exhibited (I’d have to list The Museum of Art and Design‘s 2010 exhibit “Dead or Alive” amongst those); there are the museums that make you feel the most welcome (growing up with the Boston Children’s Museum – who I was recently lucky enough to do a piece with – I have always felt it to be a wonderfully welcoming environment); there are the museums where you feel like a real, effective effort has been made to help visitors understand and connect with art (I think the High Museum of Art in Atlanta does some of the best gallery-integrated education I’ve ever seen.)

The worst museum experience? I think it would be impolitic of me to answer this question with anything but vague hand-waving. I will say that the job of a docent is a difficult balance, but that I have had the experience of being followed around like I was likely to lick the art if left unattended, and that was not the most welcoming experience.

Finish this statement: “The work exhibited at The Micro Museum is…
– reflective of the wealth of artistic talent in Somerville
– a celebration of the intimate nature of small-scale work
– a wide-open world of tiny possibilities for the future!

What’s the most surprising response you’ve ever had to your own work? I’m surprised at how many people are surprised that I don’t eat my (food based) work. I spend hours and hours making it (and handling it, and having it get stale…) There are so many reasons not to eat it!

What artists’ work do you most admire? There are so many artists doing amazing things with so many materials, it’s very hard to pick just a few! Also whenever someone asks me that question I forget the name of every artist ever. It’s a very specific kind of art-based amnesia.

Share a surprise twist in the Judith Klausner story. Just recently, we discovered a large katydid living on our porch basil plant. We named it Basil (pronounced the British way), and it is about as close to a pet as I’ve ever had. I’m very fond of Basil, even if it did ruin my plans for fresh pesto. It has really endearing antennae.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled: “Are You Going to Eat That?”

What is the greatest thing about art? I will answer this with a song quote from a song dear to my heart: “Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.”

Invisible Cities, the inaugural exhibition at the Micro Museum, includes work by Mara Brod, Grace Durnford, Emily Garfield, and Ted Ollier and will run in Somerville’s Union Square from August 15th through October 11th, 2013.

Read Greg Cook’s article about Judith’s “Smallest Museum in the World” in The ARTery.

Images: The Micro Museum before installation, photo by Steve Pomeroy; artist rendering of installation of The Micro Museum, photo by Steve Pomeroy; Judith Klausner, CEREAL SAMPLER #2: THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL (2010), Chex corn cereal, thread.

Cur8or: Kim Carlino

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Kim Carlino, Artist, Independent Curator, and Exhibition Director of the Loft Parlor @ Mill 180 in Easthampton,  has organized and curated The Laboratory, Version 1, a DIY exhibition that utilizes non-traditional space for large-scale contemporary art exhibitions. She has fabulously re-purposed a defunct dye laboratory on the third floor of Mill 180 to house the work of 24 artists from the NorthEast region and beyond. Yeah, we love that! The exhibition ranges from video, sound, sculpture, photography, site-specific wall paintings, installation, painting and drawing. So get a move on out to the Pioneer Valley and check out some great homemade work.

We caught up with the very busy Kim to answer our Cur8or 8.

1 Being the curator of The Laboratory, Version 1 is like being a a) kindergarten teacher, b) Stevie Nicks impersonator, c) dictionary editor, or d) mortgage lender.
E) Cruise ship director.

2 What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a curator?
That curating is just putting some work up on the walls.

3 Finish this statement: “The work exhibited at The Laboratory, Version 1 is…
a delight for the senses.

4 What’s the most surprising response you’ve ever had to your own work?
“I did that in middle school.”

5 What artists’ work do you most admire?
I am inspired by Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Julie Mehretu, Elizabeth Murray, Matthew Ritchie, Philip Glass, and Arvo Part.

6 Share a surprise twist in the Kim Carlino story.
Kim Carlino likes to start things. Big things.

7 The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
“Art/Play: Making It Up”

8 What is the greatest thing about DIY?
The greatest thing about DIY is that you can throw the rules out the window. You can adopt the formality or get rid of the parts that don’t serve your aesthetic.

The Laboratory,Version I
The Loft Parlor @ Mill 180
180 East Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA 01027
June 8 – July 27

Image credit from top to bottom:
Carolyn Clayton, Specimens from Hoard. 2013.
Angela Zammarelli, Get Through This. 2013. Peter Brauch, Building Something. 2013.
Catie Heitz, Untitled (Cheery-ohs), Untitled (Silver and Gold) 2013.

Cur8or: Kirun Kapur and Dawne Shand of the Tannery Series

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Kirun Kapur and Dawne Shand created the Tannery Series three years ago to “(bring) authors to the North Shore whose writing confronts the world in essential and curious ways.”

This week (6/20, 6:30 PM), they’ll host writers Jerald Walker and Tisa Bryant at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. The writers will perform in an event in conjunction with PEM’s latest exhibit, In Conversation: Modern African American Art, which showcases the art of America’s most dramatic period of social change.

The event, called IndiVisible: We the People in Black, White and Gray, also features the music of innovative soul and jazz musician Diggs Duke.

We asked Kirun and Dawne, directors of the Tannery Series (and thus curators of sorts), our Cur8or eight.

1. Do you see your event as being in conversation with In Conversation?
Yes. When The Tannery Series partners with PEM, we like to say the art on the wall meets the word on the page – though, truthfully, at all of our events, we strive to connect writers, readers and community members to broader cultural conversations. We always feature writers whose work expands our sense of the world and we’re excited to talk with people about why these books are beautiful and why they matter. The PEM’s groundbreaking exhibit, In Conversation, is the first major retrospective of 20th century African American Art in New England. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a conversation about the centrality of the African American art and artfulness to the American experience.

2. What’s behind the distinctly multi-disciplinary flavor of IndiVisible?
IndiVisible is a celebration of the African-American community’s incomparably vast and varied creative output. By incorporating art, literature and music in one evening, we have the opportunity to see the many ways in which Black culture is American culture.

When we first began talking about this collaboration, one of our partners at PEM remarked that often people’s first entryway into the concepts that gallery exhibitions address isn’t art – but books. We’d argue that’s true for music, too. Each mode of expression provides a different path into the exhibition and its questions of identity, personal freedom, social struggle and creativity. The names of the artists in the gallery may be unfamiliar, but their rendering of the human experience will not be. The writers, Tisa Bryant and Jerald Walker, expand on these themes, innovating on the page in dazzling, unexpected ways. And the musician Diggs Duke is creating a soul and jazz fusion that will sound both familiar and completely new.

Plus… all our events are slightly nerdy parties — and a party has to swing.

3. The Tannery Series is to literature what a) leather boots are to cows, b) lemonade stands are to children’s dreams, c) spell check is to a first draft, or d) encircling birds are to cartoon head injuries.
Hmm. How about:
e. The Tannery Series is to literature what Marilyn Monroe is to cake.
f. The Tannery Series is to literature what the black sheep uncle is to the family party.
g. Pass the bourbon.
You decide, after you come to an event.

4. What’s the most surprising response to a Tannery Series event you’ve ever had?
The day after an event, people often stop us on the street to say, “I had never been to a reading before, but…” And then they proceed to talk animatedly about a book or an author. Once, a man almost caused a traffic accident wanting to discuss a poem about high-heeled shoes. It happens fairly often, but it’s always a wonderful surprise.

5. What’s the most memorable thing any of your writers have said (or done) in a past Tannery Series event?
That can’t be reprinted here! We’ll just say that the event was entitled “Love, Lust and Loathing.” You’ll have to use your imagination, folks.

6. The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Since we’re big blues fans, the title “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” comes to mind, but in our case the title would be “One Bourbon, Once Scotch, Two Coffees.”

7. Have you ever been mistaken for actual leather tanners? (Be honest, now…)
Um, yes… see question 5.

8. Finish this statement: “I, esteemed member of the audience, should never, ever miss another Tannery Series event because…”
Sharon Olds, Paul Harding, Steve Almond, Major Jackson, Peter Guralnick (and if you need more reasons, see question 5)


IndiVisible: We the People in Black, White and Gray featuring writers Jerald Walker and Tisa Bryant and music artist Diggs Duke takes place Thursday, June 20, 2013 6:30-9:30pm @ the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. For more information visit: www.tanneryseries.com

Images: all images from In Conversation at Peabody Essex Museum; John Biggers, SHOTGUN, THIRD WARD #1 (1966), tempera and oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by Anacostia Museum, Smithsonian Institution; Malvin Gray Johnson, SELF-PORTRAIT (1934), oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation; Charles Searles, CELEBRATION (1975), acrylic, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, Art-in- Architecture Program; Frederick Brown, JOHN HENRY (1979), oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Gerald L. Pearson. © 1979 Frederick J. Brown.

Cur8or: Leah Hennessy

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Musician Leah Hennessy is curating a new collaborative art and music series at the Lilypad in Cambridge, MA. The series In Response pairs local emerging artists and musicians by sharing their existing works, notebook sketches and demo recordings with each other.

In Response opens on April 21st, with the photography of Kelly Burgess and the music of Americana duo Ari and Mia Friedman. April 28th will feature painter Kristin Texeria and Hennessy’s own avant-pop/improvisational trio, talk.listen.door. On May 5th, Andrea Santos will present a new installation of drawings with the experimental and early music influenced duo, Beautiful Weekend. The final pairing will appear May 12th and feature the work of animator/artist Corey Corcoran and the neo-soul sounds of songwriter Kim Mayo.

Organizing In Response is like being a a) captain of a battleship, b) a beekeeper without a net, or c) elementary school teacher?
I think for this show, it’s definitely closer to being an elementary school teacher. Although, I am a part-time elementary school music teacher at Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton, so perhaps that’s why the connections are so apparent to me. As a teacher, you are the guide for the learning process, it’s part of your role to observe, pose questions, and help draw out connections. With In Response, I wanted artists and musicians to engage in an artistic process together, so I had a set of connections that formed my rationale for making these pairings. Then it was a matter of presenting these connections to each pairing as a sort of “jumping off” place, and helping them set up a framework for sharing their ideas. As I have watched each “show” progress, it’s been exciting to see what new connections have emerged, and to watch the artists/musicians make new connections for themselves. Similarly, as a teacher, you need to have several different ways of posing a single question in order to have all of the students arrive at the same conclusion. I think it’s the same for a curator, you need to have multiple entry points for your audience, and while they might not all leave with the same experience, perhaps they will understand the overarching ideas that framed the show. Finally, in both roles, you need to be extremely organized!

What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a curator?
Coming from a musicians perspective, curating a show is significantly different from booking a show. That’s not to say that someone booking a show cannot also be curating that experience. When you see a great concert, part of what makes it great is how the different musical acts or works were grouped, how the evening unfolds and how the sounds are related to one another. When that’s done well, it takes a lot of thinking (and sometimes writing) on the part of the curator. Then with this show, I also had to learn how to facilitate the work, specifically how to aid my artists and musicians in working with one another, while also giving them space to consider another’s work and draw their own associations.  There are also millions of other little details to coordinate, from the right logo design (thank you Jess and Martha at JSGD!) to how the chairs are set up in the venue, and whether you’re going to need more nails, and where you should put your postcards so that they don’t get tossed the minute you walk away.

Share a surprise twist in the Leah Hennessy story.
I’m a Southerner, born and raised in Charleston, SC, and I don’t have an accent. That always seems surprising to people up here. Someday, I’ll leave the frozen banks of the Charles for the balmier winds of some place with gigantic oak trees, and people who know that the plural of ‘y’all’ is ‘all y’all’. Maybe it’ll be New Orleans. It would be kind of amazing to curate something with Mardi Gras Indian costumes.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve been reading Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace’s massive master work, for easily the last 6 months or so. I’m just over halfway through, but I am quite convinced that it could be the best thing that I have ever read. Take the filmography of James O. Incandenza; each little synopsis so vivid and perfectly detailed as to make you think that these were all actually made. And that’s just part of the footnotes!

How did In Response come to be?
I’m very interested in how different artistic disciplines inform one another, and about the ways in which concepts or trends appear in differing art forms. I had previously produced an event at Club OBERON called resonate! that brought emerging artists, musicians, and filmmakers together in an effort to grow audiences and build community. Afterwards, I decided that I wanted my next project to bring those different disciplines into a closer dialogue. At the time I was a graduate student in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory, and I wrote a grant proposal for the student grants program that is a part of the Entrepreneurial Musicianship department (resonate! was also funded through the same program). The ideas in the approved proposal really changed and grew post-graduation, when I was somewhat removed from that community, and being able to constantly observe the work of your peers, and exchange ideas with them. I began using text from the authors and poets that I was reading to create new music. I was thinking about how text can shape sound, how sound can evoke color, and I knew what I wanted this project to be.

I’ve had the great opportunity to expose myself to many of Boston’s emerging artists, and I am excited to pair the four visual artists in our series with four emerging and very creative musical acts. In Response challenges these pairs to explore how input from other disciplines can shape their work.

What excites you about being a curator?
Being a curator gives me a way of uniting my interests and passions. It encourages me to look closely and to think in abstract ways about the connective threads between pieces of art. Nothing has delighted me more than the new connections I’ve been making as these artists and musicians have been working together. There were commonalities, thematic and textural, that led me to the initial pairings, but it’s made the whole experience so much richer for me to find more connections relating to process and intent. It’s also just a real joy to bring people together to share work and ideas…and snacks. We should always be sharing snacks.

Who wins a friendly arm wrestling contest, artists or musicians?
I would say musicians, on the grounds that they may have built up some arm strength lugging lots heavy gear to and from shows. However, if we’re not talking those types of musicians, say you play a ukelele or have a roadie, then all bets are off.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Where Are My Keys? and Other Things I Might Have Lost Today

In Response
Sundays, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, and 5/12
Lilypad,  1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Doors open at 3:00 PM, performance at 3:30 PM
Suggested donation $5-$10, sliding scale
For more information email Leah Hennessy

Image credit from top to bottom: Echo, Corey Corcoran; two Untitled works from Andrea Santos

Cur8or: Flatfile Boston

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Schools train artists. Museums and galleries exhibit them. Grant-making organizations (like us) do our best to fund them. But who creates that crucial connection between art-buyers and art-makers?

Flatfile Boston is a project of Sara Dassel, Mika Hornyak, and George Sopel, three folks that help prospective art collectors find and buy art, work to create opportunities for market growth and audience building (such as a pop-up show in Wellesley at Essentia, through to this weekend), and use their blog as a medium to display artists with local ties.

Essentially, they match buyers with art. Here, the folks at Flatfile match insightful answers to our Cur8or eight questions.

Please use “Flatfile” and “Boston” together in a sentence.
Flatfile works to grow the Boston area’s contemporary art market by giving greater exposure to local and locally trained artists, by educating potential buyers, and by creating alternative venues and experiences for buying art.

Growing the local art market is like A) spiking/dyeing pink the local hairdo, B) releasing the local Kraken, C) adding yeast to the local bread, or D) launching the local Moon-or-Bust rocketship.
We hope it’s like C, and we are just adding a little boost to the local bread to help it rise a little higher. Or maybe it’s trying to add more “dough” to the bread, since we are really trying to get more people to buy local work and collect locally so artists can work and thrive in the area. But sometimes we think it’s a little like E, as in “none of the above.”

What is the most misunderstood aspect of what you do?
People ask if we sell art online. While we’re not opposed to that and know it’s part of the landscape these days, we think that it’s very hard to get a sense of what you are looking at online, and encourage people to try and see art work in person before they form an opinion about it.

Is there an art + buyer connection you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
Honestly, we are proud of all the connections we make. We’re like the Patti Stanger Millionaire Matchmakers of local art buying. We are all really committed to finding the right match for people. We think there should be a love connection with the work you bring into your life.

What’s the most surprising response to Flatfile Boston you’ve ever had?
If we told you, it would no longer be a surprise.

We know your mission: grow the local contemporary art market. But what’s your SECRET mission?
Find great art, throw fun parties, and fill homes in the Boston area with really wonderful contemporary art.

The unauthorized biography of your lives is titled:
The Long and Winding Road: and why we need a GPS to help us get there. In this fast-paced novel our three heroes travel to areas of Boston that few if any have dared venture, seeking out art that deserves to be seen by citizens whose empty walls and lives are gasping for work that both fulfills their aesthetic and spiritual voids.

Finish this statement: “Buying a work of art is like…”
Ok, say this with a kind of teen-age accent, “Buying a work of art is like… the most addictive thing ever once you take the plunge. It’s crazy fun.”

Flatfile Boston has a pop-up show at Essentia in Wellesley, 91 Central St (thru April 12 [expected] – contact store for details).

For further research on Flatfile’s art-collecting services, check out their collecting blog and/or follow them on twitter.

Images: visual art featured on Flatfile Boston collecting blog, courtesy of the artists: John Guy Petruzzi, POISONER (2012), watercolor on polypropylene paper, 26×40 in; Jesse Burke, WARREN COURTS (2009), C-print, 24×36 in; Nikki Rosato, TRAPPED IN TIME (MERCEDES-BENZ) (2012), watercolor on paper, 22X30 in; Sean Downey, NEW WAYS OF LIVING (2012), oil on canvas, 65×48 in; Herman James, WELCOMING COMMITTEE? (2011), oil on rag paper, 36×51 in.

Cur8or: Kate True and AJ Liberto of Upsodown

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The New Art Center in Newton wants you to curate its upcoming exhibition. Through the Curatorial Opportunity Program, established or first-time curators can propose a group exhibition and, if selected, receive a $1000 stipend, along with space, infrastructure, and support.

Currently, there’s a fascinating show resulting from this program: Upsodown, curated by Kate True and AJ Liberto and featuring the work of Seth Alverson, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Marcus Kenney, Eli Kessler, AJ Liberto, Clifford Owens, Joyce Pensato, Tara Sellios, and Summer Wheat.

We asked the curators, both working artists as well, our eight Cur8or questions, and here, they share insights into an upside-down experience.

Which way is Upsodown?
Kate: Upsodown is every which way! We always conceived of the show as being about the transformative power of the carnival, but until we had the title Upsodown the concept did not fully solidify. I think stepping back from a literal idea of Carnival and realizing the broader implications of the theme we were exploring was liberating. My mother is an English professor, and to her the original curatorial essay brought to mind Chaucer and his phrase “upsodoun” from the Canterbury tales. Thanks, Mom!

Being the curator is like being the a) parade float director, b) unicorn tamer, c) sorcerer’s editor, or d) cocoon designer (and landlord).
Kate: All of the above, but in the case of Upsodown, especially the first! It felt like it was Christmas day when all the art finally arrived at the NAC and we unpacked all the huge boxes and saw that yes, in reality, there were all kinds of amazing conversations happening between the pieces, which we had hoped and suspected would be the case.

What’s the most surprising response to your work you’ve ever had?
Kate: I have done quite a few commissioned portraits, so I often get very emotional personal responses, which is powerful, and very gratifying to me. And I have had similar responses to my non-commissioned work, which is usually figurative and often narrative. Some people have connected intensely to my paintings because they evoke an important memory or dream. My work seems to be very popular with therapists for some reason!

AJ: I have gotten several responses to my drawings from people who think I’m involved with the occult. At one show, a guy gave me a book of magical spells and an invitation to some kind astral travel group.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Kate: The Awakening? Ha. This was a very important and formative book for me (The Awakening, by Kate Chopin), and was one of the things that sparked my interest in the New Orleans area. And I would have to say that’s as good a title as any, for my life so far!

AJ: The Man Who Ate His Own Head.

Share a surprise twist in the AJ Liberto/Kate True story.
Kate: We met at an art auction a few years ago, where we quickly realized that our tastes were pretty different! But it was the beginning of a long and fruitful conversation about what we think is good, and important, and awesome, in art. Our divergent backgrounds and sensibilities add to our strength as a curatorial team (this is our second project together, our first was Shame/Less at the FPAC Gallery in 2012), because it means that only the strongest work will be what we both agree on and love.

What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a curator?
Kate: Being a curator is not about just selecting the work, or asking artists to make work, or putting out a call for work, or doing the administrative work of putting the show together. The important and exciting part about curating is that it’s like tuning a radio in to certain cultural frequencies, and picking up on and highlighting connections and conversations that are already happening, then gathering these connections and working with them until an underlying theme, or way to frame the connections, becomes apparent. It is through this framework that the themes can be made visitable to a greater audience. If your own work is already part of the conversation, you will be that much more tuned in to these connections.

Complete this sentence: As an artist, curatorial work gives me…
Kate: … a way to unify my ideas and passions, a frame of reference through which to better understand compelling ideas and cultural moments. I think artists make good curators because we do not necessarily come from an academic viewpoint, and may not know conventional curatorial practices, and so may be more open to experimentation, play, free association. The other thing I love about curatorial work is the chance to step back from my studio, connect with other artists and the public, and to think and write about the transformative power of art.

Share a formative carnival experience.
Kate: I have never been to Carnival, Mardi Gras, or anything closer to it than the Champlain Valley Fair, in Vermont, where I grew up! So “carnival” to me does not recall any particular memories, it’s open to interpretation. I’ve always had a fascination with the South, and New Orleans in particular, I think since I learned the history of the Acadians, first kicked out of France and then kicked out of the Maritimes. The history of Louisiana is the history of America, in a nutshell, the best and worst of it, and this is one of the reasons I find Colescott’s Ponchartrain so beautiful and disturbing and compelling.

Upsodown, curated by Kate True and AJ Liberto, is in the Main Gallery at New Art Center in Newton through February 22, 2013. The next deadline for submissions to the NAC’s Curatorial Opportunity Program is April 1, 2013.

Images: Joyce Pensato, HERES LOOKING AT YOU (2009), enamel on linen, 90×72 in; Marcus Kenney, TOMOH CHEE CHEE (2011), mixed media on canvas, 60x60x3 in; Tara Sellios, IMPERMANENCE UNTITLED NO. 10 (2009), digital c-print, 24×30 in; AJ Liberto, MEME STREAM (2007), mixed media, 13x5x5 ft; Summer Wheat, PARTY GIRL (2011), acrylic and oil on canvas, 72×56 in; Robert Colescott, PONTCHARTRAIN (1997), color sugar list and spite bite aquatints with etching and drypoint printed on four sheets of paper, 41×117 in.

Cur8or: Liz Devlin of FLUX. Boston

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Elsewhere is a potent concept in art. But the work that people like Liz Devlin of FLUX. Boston are doing, everyday, to add a bit of awesome to the local art scene sure makes us glad to be here.

Liz, along with creating the online arts journal FLUX. Boston, is curating the show Elsewhere at Distillery Gallery in Boston. We asked her about her work’s fluctuations, surprise twists, and proverbial elsewheres.

Where is elsewhere (as far as this show is concerned)?
Elsewhere in the context of the show isn’t necessarily a place, but more of a concept – anything that shakes you from your routine and enables you to see the world through a different lens. It’s about taking the gallery experience and freeing it from the notion of four white walls passively observed and instead engaging viewers, making them a part of the conversation. Whether it’s inspiration derived from daydreaming, or train/plain/automobile/hoof travel to places on Earth or otherworldly, it’s about reigniting that part of the soul that feels energized and inspired by our surroundings.

Curating is like being a) an ancient meteorologist, b) a PR chief for a secret society, c) a whale song conductor, or d) (Fill in the blank).
Whale song conductor seems most fitting. The artists are the ones creating the music whose meaning is left up to interpretation. In a group show setting, the strength and unique qualities of each individual voice are only heightened by the power of the collective sound. My role is to organize, oversee, and manage these voices in order to maximize flow, minimize discordance, and enable each to shine in their own unique way. In keeping with the idea of whales, the artists are the ones on the oceanic stage. I am simply there to support their endeavors, ensure no one gets beached, and then I just keep my head down and fingers crossed in the weeks leading up to an exhibition.

What’s the most surprising response to your work you’ve ever had?
At the last show, Offline at Voltage Coffee and Art in Kendall Square, a man came up to me and hurriedly dragged me over to a painting. He went on about how he loved the piece and proceeded to ask me every-little-thing about it. A modern day Spanish Inquisition. Why were certain elements included? Hidden messages? Deeper meaning? Medium/scale/pigment decisions? This conversation went on for about fifteen minutes and I happily answered as much as I knew about the background of the painting, which hilariously enough was a crying portrait of Brenda Walsh from 90210 that says “F*** You All” underneath. Anyway, when he specifically asked why *I* chose to paint Brenda in a certain way, I then realized he thought I was Elizabeth Grammaticas the famed artist, not Liz Devlin the not-as-glamorous curator. At that moment, the twinkling stars left his eyes and he looked like a little boy who had just gotten a lint roller for Christmas.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
The 25th Hour.

Share a surprise twist in the Liz Devlin story.
Our protagonist steps on stage to accept her Lifetime Achievement Award, and then spontaneously bursts into flames.

Surprise!

What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a curator?
I think some individuals believe curating is simply a matter of choosing artists you think are “cool,” getting gussied, and throwing parti… soirees. Which I suppose is the public facing side of things, but people don’t see you scrambling to pick up work from galleries, crawling on the floor to paint scuffed walls in a side scrunchie, talking artists off the ledge when they are stressed, and waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night because you can’t remember if you bought enough nails from Home Depot. But that being said (and as cheesy as it may be), it’s all worth it in the end to see an idea that existed in your head only a few short months ago come to fruition and end up more amazing than you could have ever conceived. It’s extremely rewarding.

Most curious item to come across FLUX Boston’s (proverbial) desk?
Sometimes I get letters from readers here and abroad asking to showcase their work on FLUX. or in a gallery. And I wish I still had the email, but I once had an artist from Italy write me a really short and sweet note (possibly canned) along the lines of, “Hey! Love your site, it would mean so much to me if you might consider showcasing my work :)” Emoticons and everything. So I opened up the attachments, which downloaded line by line, and I couldn’t even handle what emerged. He had sent over, maybe two dozen poorly rendered paintings of Adolf Hitler in various incarnations. Some Hitlers were in frilly bikinis, with duck bodies, picking flowers, in a kiddy pool, adorned with 90 breasts, unicorn horns, covered in upside crosses with blood spurting out of his eyes. I guess the best thing to do when you receive an email like that is to thank the artist for their submission and hit “save.”

FLUX. Boston is most directly akin to a) the Flux Capacitor b) Aeon Flux or c) creative spelling of “flukes”
Selfishly, I am going to say Aeon Flux because that was one of my “when the parents are sleeping…” guilty pleasures growing up. Aeon was rogue, intelligent, witty and a strong powerful female figure. She was an unlikely hero – a defender of all things good in her own quirky way, and I can relate to that. FLUX. is a one woman show, and with that ownership comes the freedom to write about the people/places/things I like without asking permission or consulting a committee. And although I can’t catch a fly in my eyelashes or do a back handspring off a cliff while holding a gun like Aeon can, I’m working on it.

Elsewhere exhibits at Distillery Gallery in Boston September 20-October 26, 2012, opening reception Sept. 20, 7 PM. The show is curated by Liz Devlin of FLUX. Boston and features the work of !ND!V!DUALS Collective, Elizabeth Alexander & Todd Bowser, Aimee Belanger, Matt Brackett, Stephanie Cardon & Marc McNulty, Beth Dacey, Kat Ely, Chris Faust, Nathan Fried-Lipski, Judy Haberl, Scott Listfield, Molly Segal, Brenda Star, Juan Travieso, and Evan Voelbel.

Images: Promotional image for ELSEWHERE; site-specific work by !ND!V!DUALS Collective; Juan Travieso, GENUS DECONSTRUCTION; Judy Haberl, HIDDEN AGENDA; Molly Segal, WHITE GIRLS KISSING.

Liz Devlin is a curator, arts consultant, and creator of the blog FLUX. Boston.

Cur8or: Jay Critchley

Friday, August 10th, 2012

There’s no stopping time or tide. Yes, the beloved Herring Cove Bathhouse in Provincetown, MA,  has seen its last ill-fitting bikini. Or has it? Proposals are now being accepted for the 10 Days of Art 2012 Festival, a multi-media exhibition at the Herring Cove Beach Bathhouse in the Cape Cod National Seashore. Before the Bathhouse is torn down and the ocean moves up the beach’s shoreline, Ten Days That Shook the World: the Centennial Decade will take place September 28 to October 7, 2012.  The project’s director is Jay Critchley, Provincetown’s artist provocateur extraordinaire

Explain how the 10 Days That Shook the World project came to be.
Pre-demo buildings are attracted to me, I think because we live in a “pre” culture – pre-bombed, pre-collapsed, pre-meditated, prea-chers.

Organizing 10 Days That Shook the Word is like being a a) secretary of state, b) longshoreman, or c) union boss
Secretary of State – the ship of state is sinking and the bathhouse is making its last stand.

Share a surprise (rated G) twist in the Jay Critchley story.
I’m collecting and repurposing historic outhouses. Donations accepted.

What would you say to someone that still contends global warming is a hoax?
There is someone walking behind you,
Turn around, look at me.
There is someone watching your footsteps,
Turn around, look at me.

What’s the most surprising response you’ve ever had to your work?
A large garbage bag filled with specially collected plastic tampon applicators for my TACKI project (Tampon Applicators Creative Klubs Int’l) from a beach clean up that was thrown away by the janitor, thinking it was trash!

What are you currently reading?
Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed.

Have you spotted a great white shark this summer?
We don’t use the “S” word.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Uncle Jay.

Image credit: All images courtesy of Jay Critchley. Photo: Beige Motel, sand-encrusted 1955 motel, pre-demo, North Truro, MA 2007. Photo: 29th annual Re-Rooters Day Ceremony, Provincetown Harbor, January 7, 2010.

Cur8or: Ann Jon of SculptureNow

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In addition to being a nationally exhibited sculptor, Ann Jon is also the director of SculptureNow. That means that in between creating fascinating nature- and architecture-inspired 3D works, she organizes an annual outdoor display of sculpture in Western Mass., including this year’s exhibitions in Lenox (through Oct. 27) and Hinsdale (through June 1, 2013).

Here, Ann answers questions about her work, surprising responses to it, misunderstood aspects of it, and more.

Explain how SculptureNow came to be.
A group of Berkshire sculptors got tired of schlepping large, heavy sculptures to Manhattan galleries (fighting traffic, avoiding getting parking tickets, hoping the sculpture would fit in the elevator, etc.). So, we decided to have our own shows in our own community. We skipped the white gallery walls, and chose instead the green walls of nature.

Organizing SculptureNow is like being a a) tactical general, b) head chef, or c) marching band conductor.
Well, maybe a head chef. Gotta keep in mind the final presentation of a high quality exhibition and at the same time pay attention to endless details all coming together to create a coherent, focused show.

What’s the most surprising response you’ve ever had to your work?
Somebody crying when viewing my sculpture. Not sure why. It wasn’t that bad.

But seriously, this viewer was deeply moved and connected with the sculpture on an emotional level. Very gratifying.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Still Here?

Share a surprise twist in the Ann Jon story.
When I think forward in time, next week, month, year I always wonder, how I will survive as an artist, financially. Creatively I can keep going. I have more ideas than I know what to do with. When I look back in time I am surprised how I kept going as an artist for more than 40 years, and how now through SculptureNow I can even help other artists getting seen, sold, reviewed and established. Who would have thunk?

What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a sculptor?
The price of a sculpture. In this culture of mass produced, disposable “stuff” most people have no clue about the labor and expenses of creating something original by hand, from scratch. If they do, they think you can afford it, and should be happy to pay your bills with their compliments.

What are you currently reading?
Sculpture Magazine. Always informative, though sometimes the art-speak gets tiresome. The photos say it better anyway. When I need to leave the sculpture world, I read Louise Erdrich and William Faulkner. They take me into another world of poetry, spirituality and magic storytelling beyond the expected.

If you could talk sculpture with any artist in history, who would it be?
Robert Wilson, the creator of 14 Stations. The best show I ever saw at Mass MoCA. I would love to better understand his inspirations, the thinking and the work that went into creating that piece. What a feat!

ScultureNow was supported by the MCC’s Local Cultural Council Program, receiving funding from the Hinsdale-Peru, Lenox, Monterey, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, and Tyringham Cultural Councils.

Images: Ann Jon, EVERY MOOD OF BLUE, wood, pigment, cord, steel; Daniel Stienstra, MONUMENTS (detail), steel, ceramic; Fielding Brown, LOLLYPOP TREE, wood, pigment; Jonathan Prince, TOTEM II, oxidized and stainless steel; Wendy Klemperer, YEARLING, steel; Anne Alexander, TURITELLA, wood; Kate Ely, POLYPORALES, wood, steel, glass.

Cur8or: Candice Smith Corby and Leslie Schomp

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Artists Candice Smith Corby and Leslie Schomp are wearing multiple hats (visually dazzling ones, no doubt). As they continue to create personally resonant mixed-media art, they’re also curators of Self/Fabricated, an intriguing exhibition of work by artists (including the curators, Jan Johnson, and others) who explore autobiography through cloth and stitching. The show opens at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury on Sunday, September 23, 2012, reception 1:30-3:30 PM.

Recently, they’ve added a “fundraiser” hat to the stack. Through June 1, the artists are using USA Projects to raise funds for an exhibition catalog.

Here, they answer our cur8or eight questions with multi-talented aplomb.

Explain the idea behind Self/Fabricated.
Candice and Leslie: We have been close friends for awhile and around 4 yrs ago we were admiring each other’s work and how we would love to see it shown together sometime. We were imagining someone else curating us into their show – both of us wishing some magic curator would call us up. We were both using cloth and images of ourselves in our work, albeit quite differently, and we share similar loves of vintage fabric and old pastimes of stitching, ie. tea towels, table cloths, doilies, sampler’s etc. There was more to these tokens than just their practical use. Each one told a story not just in the stains and physical wear but of course also in how they were marked, painted on and embroidered. There was an empathy for someone who had spent hours of both toil and enjoyment in the creation of these items. As both of us were married and mothers, we were also at the same time balancing domestic work, employment and work as artists.

Once the lightbulb went off that we could organize our own show, the inclusion of the other artists, Jan Johnson, Ilona Anderson, Joetta Maue, Wylie Garcia Sopia, and David Curcio, happened pretty organically. Each artist wowed us with their return to stitching methods and reference of cloth as well as how they were attempting to identify, describe, or invent one’s one identity, life’s story or self through traditional and poetic self-portraiture. The word Fabricated is not just about cloth but also about how we create our own stories.

Being a curator is like being a a) circus ringleader, b) high-wire performer, or c) driver of the clown car.
Leslie: Being a curator feels to me like being a circus ringleader. What I love about our show is how varied the work is even though the artists identify so strongly with each other. Also the practical elements of being a curator; the various tasks and concerns are again so varied-from writing, business elements, laying out the space of the show, etc.

Candice: I would say all of the above! I’ve found that I have to be the one in charge of complete chaos but act like I am completely unfrazzled with steady poise and also being open to spontaneous wacky ideas and personality quirks.

What’s the most surprising response you’ve ever had to your work?
Candice: When I was an undergrad, I made a pretty dramatic – overly dramatic – sculptural work with film and text influence by a dream and family memories. I was shocked by the emotive response and also saw the power that art can sometimes have. I think it also made me realize I wanted more joy and humor in my work one day.

Leslie: This sounds kind of crazy but the most surprising response to my work was written in a guest book at a solo show I had. It said the work was “shockingly personal.” I suppose I was surprised because I always thought that the personal was obscured through lines, marks and veiled layering.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Leslie: I can’t imagine how others see my life, but here are a few attempts (some serious and some a joke): A Life in Grey: the Quiet Years; or I Don’t Know!: the Leslie Schomp Story; or The Girl with the Last Name That is Like a Sound Effect.

Candice: Most Improved, OR Easily Entertained.

Share a surprise twist in the Leslie Schomp/Candice Smith Corby story.
Leslie: My son marries Candice’s daughter one day, and we become Grandmother sisters! Or that our kids grow up and become artists and do really fun surprising work.

Candice: We switch hairstyles. We open a yoga/tae kwon do/knitting studio.

What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a curator?
Candice: Simultaneously being introverted and extroverted. That it involves being a high-end administrative assistant and an event planner.

What are you currently reading?
Leslie: I’m currently reading A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Girl, which is a collection of writings by Irish authors about their childhoods, edited by and based on interviews with John Quinn.

Candice: Six different home decor magazines and Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England.

Fill in the blanks: a stitch in ________ saves ________.
Candice and Leslie: We got stumped! “A stitch in yours saves mine?”

Self/Fabricated is funding on USA Projects through June 1, 2012.

Images: still images from USA Projects video: Self/Fabricated, work by David Curcio, and work by Joetta Maue; Leslie Schomp, SELF PORTRAIT WITH SON (2007), hair and nylon thread on found handkerchiefs, embroidery hoops.


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