I'm posting old work, so I can look at it and get motivated to make and post something new. I'm eeking my way towards getting motivated today, but so far it's seriously alluding me. I've spent the last half hour looking at vintage knitting needles on eBay (I'm in love, love, love).
PRH and I were in Syracuse (New York) yesterday and saw a sculpture at the Everson Museum of Art that had old knitting needles secured to it (hence the newest obsession). I need old knitting needles. I must say that I really enjoyed the Everson as a whole and highly recommend making the trip. Their ceramics collection was incredible and they had a beautiful Rauschenberg print that I kept wishing belonged to me (and I'd share with PRH...of course). Sadly, what I didn't love was their exhibition called The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic. Initially I thought "Oh, this is so great! Look at all of these suitcases and this cool old stuff.". The exhibition was interesting, but I didn't think that it worked well within the context of an art museum. The contents of the suitcases were displayed along with large panels containing information about the patients (most of whom had been in this facility for the majority of their lives). By the time we left I felt (a) like crying and (b) kind of sick. For me personally, the manner in which the images and belongings were displayed was kind of exploitative and very specimen-like. I expected to come away feeling that the exhibtion offered solutions to an ongoing social issue...I definitely did not. Some pieces were displayed that the patients had made, but making art within the walls of a Psychiatric center didn't appear to be the focus of the exhibition. For some reason, I would have felt like it was less exploitative had it been exhibited at an anthropology or history museum. Perhaps I'm not being fair- other spaces in the museum were closed off until the opening later last night (that we didn't stay for), but I think an exhibition should be able to stand on its own and I didn't think this one did. It's traveling, so if you get a chance I encourage you to check it out (and...Everson has a great collection...and fabulous tulip chairs that I also wished were mine in the downstairs ladies room). PRH and I had an indepth conversation about the exhibition on the drive back to Massachusetts; we agreed that we like to see exhibitions that don't work on some level so we can try to figure out why. Not sure if we figured it out, but still a thought-provoking drive-home chat.
OK- time to get going. One more peek at eBay and then it's off to my little studio.
Posted by Aesthetic Outburst... at 9:36 AM