Monday, 23 April 2012

Calling all Craft Curators: Dirty, Democratic & Exquisite

Invitation image from Dirt, Detrius & Vermin- exhibition at Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, a curatorial composition of the work of Cal Lane (dirt lace on the floor), Sarah Wright Cheney (exquisite onion skin cockroaches) and Sarah Saunders (whisper thin porcelain hankies) ran 21 May 2011 to 8 August 2011 co-curated by Ingrid Jenker & Katie Belcher - one of my all time favourite shows!

Title: Dirty, Democratic & Exquisite,
A round-table on Curatorial Strategies for Craft in 2012

There has never been a more exciting or rewarding time to be a curator working with craft than now.  Through practices like post-disciplinary craft, sloppy craft and craftivism, craft has gained a new social and intellectual relevance to a growing audience among the general public, special interest groups, and professional and non-professional craft practioners.  Performance art, intangible cultural heritage, and up-cycling have eroded the status of the connoiseur's craft object and questioned previously valued notions of precious materials and labour-soaked and skill based techniques.  Professors Google and You Tube threaten both traditional master-apprentice and its later more contemporary incarnations of learning models at art and design colleges.  Global citizenship blurs regional craft traditions.  The practice and products of craft have never been more diverse and unpredictable. 

From In an ancient garden: Lucky Rabbit Pottery (Debra Kuzyk & Ray Mackie) this was in the downstairs gallery at MSVU at the same time as the show in the previous image.  I had an absolute blast with the colour for these walls.

How does the radically changing social and economic landscape impact the professional practice of craft curation?  What curatorial strategies are most appropriate to craft exhibitions and events?  What has worked in your experience as a curator?

Curators practicing in the fields of "art and design", craft and aboriginal culture are invited to submit proposals – comprised of a list of questions or issues they wish to discuss plus a short bio – for a round table discussion of curatorial strategies for craft in 2012.  Participants should expect to speak formally for ten minutes with the support of visuals in a Powerpoint format.

The colour was meant to showcase the pottery but also to evoke their inspiration.  The spice of the Far East for example where Deb & Ray and their daughter have been travelling.  The staff at MSVU were a pleasure to work with.

Interested parties should contact:  Gloria Hickey, 16 Byron Street, St. John's, NL A1B 3B7, (709) 753-0623, with a short list of questions or issues they would like to discuss and a short bio before June 4, 2012.

The conference will be November 1-3, 2012 in Montreal at Concordia University.  Here is the link to the Universities Art Association of Canada website:

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