This week we began work on the Student Show. The first step was deciding which works would go in which areas and then laying out a plan of where things could go. This part was somewhat simple, we divided up the gallery as we had for showing⏐thinking and divided the works by course. I worked with Sarah Emerson’s Art 160 classes.
After we installed all the works I came in on the day of the opening to help Leah light the show, but as we were installing the lights a tree fell on a line of the street and the power went out. Once it became clear that the power would not return in time for the gallery opening we gathered candles the Blackfriar’s had pulled from the prop shop and set them up in the front of the gallery.
While this was definitely an unconventional opening it was surely a memorable one. We served ice cream and still saw quite a crowd. After people had a chance to walk around Katherine and Nell handed out cords to the seniors and other awards and then announced that the school would be buying a few of the works for Agnes’ permanent collection.
This week we visited the Atlanta Contemporary and talked to the executive director of the Atlanta Contemporary, Veronica Kessenich. After she gave us a quick tour of the exhibitions currently on display she answered a few questions on her role in the Contemporary and the Contemporary role in the art world.
The shows currently on display, Sascha Braunig, Ja’Tovia M. Gary and Paul Anthony Smith , create an interesting dialogue. Even while separated into different areas of the gallery the edges overlapped and encountered each other. The sound of the video piece by Ja’Tovia M. Gary edging upon Paul Anthony Smith’s beads, these “walls without borders” playing off of the fluidity of Sascha Braunig’s paintings. All these carefully plotted interconnections has me considering how much the curation of shows is a concentrated practice. While at Agnes I have worked with many parts of putting on an exhibition, but this idea of creating a cohesive show throughout the gallery is something I have yet to experience.
This week we visited Spelman College and viewed the Mickalene Thomas show, we then met with the Curator of Education, Makeba Dixon-Hill and discussed the various ways in which her role worked within the school and the art world.
I enjoyed how the dimmed lights and bright screens reflected on the hardwood and how the audio changed and layered depending on where you stood in the room. It was a fascinating marriage of image and sound that produced almost a tranquil background layering of sound perfect for meditation, yet the words and language that were being used were harsh and abrasive contradicting this feeling.
We then talked to Makeba and one of the installers about how they work with each other and the other roles that they perform. It is interesting to see how different arts institutions react to the need for outreach and keeping themselves relevant. The idea of yoga in the gallery and “amatuer” gallery talks are fascinating to me and I wonder how effective they are in practice.
This week we began the installation of the showing⏐thinking 2017 show. My primary goal for installing was to determine the overall shape and size of the book sculpture, up until this point I had yet to decide where any of the content for Casey’s space would actually go. I wanted the books to determine where the installation would go. After we had moved roughly 200 or so books into the space I began laying them out in an arc on the gallery floor.
At this point I still was not sure what the book sculpture would ultimately end up looking like, but I decided to continue on the path I was on and let the books and gallery space inform me as to what it would be. As I added layers I still lacked a certain direction. Should it be symmetrical? Is this even going to be stable? How am I going to make this work? These books, deceptively heavy, gave me quite the mental and physical workout. Going into this with no plan seemed like the best idea, however a sense of direction would have been a safer route. But as I worked at it, the form eventually came through the materials.
The overall shape was both comforting as a sort of book hug, as some put it, but also anxiety ridden as the sloping angle on the right side feels precarious and unsafe. After this work day I had accomplished what I considered the hardest piece of my space, and now all I had to do was the rest.
The weekend was a continuation of the installation process. After the initial installation of the books I had thought that it would only get easier from there. But after a sudden illness and no clear plan I had walked myself right into a corner. At this point I had a pile of materials and no ideas were jumping out at me. I started working with Casey’s elementary school report cards. I enjoyed how the color of the papers matched the green of the books, as well as the gridded form in which they were hung, providing a nice counter balance to the asymmetric form of the book sculpture.
The shadows that the paper’s created on the wall created a nice form and sense of movement. After these were hung I still had a bevy of materials to work with. My hardest task was finding a way to display the lock picking set and some of Casey’s books. I played around with the placement of the pedestals, not wanting to block sightlines or interrupt the form of the books.
After I placed these I worked on the wall seen behind them. I had a folder of Casey’s personal notes written on scraps of paper. While I had also scanned the notes into a collage-esque format, I wanted to display these papers as objects within the space as well. The grid was something that I felt paralleled the gridded report cards on the wall opposite this one. The asymmetric shape of the top was meant to reflect the asymmetry of the book sculpture.
The last piece of the “puzzle” was the red chair from Casey’s living room. The shade of the chair matched that of the round wall in the gallery and the shape withe the form of both the book structure as well as the staircase itself. By placing the chair on a low platform we elevated it from a piece of furniture to an element of intentional design.
This week my efforts were primarily focused on the catalog. Having used Adobe InDesign previously as a part of my high school newspaper it was a bit like relearning how to ride a bike- sure you never forget how, but you might just have trouble locating the stroke palette. I’m glad that this course is giving me the opportunity to relearn the program and polish my skills for professional use. Here is one of the pages from my first mock up:
Having roughed out the first draft of the catalog, a few of the issues I came across was balancing text and other elements as well as distributing space between the page elements. Some of the participants had plenty of content and others had less to work with. These issues are things that happen periodically with design layout.
This weekend I had to opportunity to attend the Art Papers art auction with the Art Department. I was intrigued by the event, it seemed like every surface was covered in some form of art. The eclectic group of people and art pieces made for an interesting evening. The pieces the seniors ended up bidding on will be great additions to our collection. While hectic, the process was interesting and I can’t wait to attend as a senior in two years.
This week we looked at possible layouts and designs for the round wall. We discussed how changing the size, color, placement and orientation of the font can affect how it is interpreted. I was interested in how the phrases were broken up could also influence how it was perceived. I broke up phrases where they would be the most interesting on either side of the break as in “we are always in-process, – becoming” by placing the break between process and becoming, the normal pause we give the comma is elongated and really focuses on what is after the pause. I also wanted to cluster the words and phrases to the top portion of the wall, because I was worried about how having words on the bottom could clutter the front exhibition space.