(L to R) Ellen Lesperance, Akihiko Miyoshi, and Michelle Ross
Tomorrow at 6:30PM the Museum of Contemporary Craft is holding the last (*update not last)
of 3 Craft/Perspective panel discussions related to the We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order To Live exhibition
of Hallie Ford Fellowship recipients. The talk features, "individual artist presentations by 2012 Hallie Ford Fellows; Ellen Lesperance, Akihiko Miyoshi, and Michelle Ross, followed by a moderated conversation around a central question that currently influences the local creative climate."
To be sure, whenever someone hands out money, somebody will inevitably grouse but the exhibition has been a lightning rod for a wide ranging discussion here on PORT
... just not in the way the Ford Foundation seem to have planned. Instead, by situating the discussion around the somewhat old-school combination "making" and hand made analog processes in some ways the show misses ideas first laid out in Donald Judd's incredibly influential essay Specific Objects (which counter-intuitively was all about being general in a specific way by making objects quite secondary to their collateral effect upon a room and viewer. This ultimately presaged the now omnipresent digital realm.) Thus comparatively, 7 of show's 9 artist (exceptions are Schwegler and Conkle) have a very conscious old-school approach to art, much of it academic as well. This isn't an indictment or review of the work as much as a mirror I feel needs to be held up to these awards panels in regards to so called "contemporary award"s for art in the Northwest. Furthermore, these three artists are all capable speakers so come and see what they have to say about being lumped together in both flattering and not so flattering ways.
By purposefully concentrating on more, "traditional disciplines" the Ford Family Foundation practically begged for this kind of "yeah but" critical response (i.e. where is the exploration of digital forms or installation that doesn't call attention to the way it is made). I respect that and the opportunities for discussion it creates are important. Fact is though most contemporary art treats the human hand as a simply a choice to use, or not. It isn't paramount to the discussion of the human condition (especially in this digital age), simply a common one among numerous other strategies. By fetishing the hand/analog process, it is like having desert all of the time and the Ford Family Foundation is hardly the only institution guilty of taking a very standard and stereotypical "genre" based approach to Northwest art as opposed to an ideas/experience based one (which inherently treats all genres, materials and strategies as equals).
Panel Discussion: February 12th | 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Museum of Contemporary Craft (The Lab)
724 NW Davis St.
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