CURATING IN SPACE


LUSCIOUS

 

So, when my best friend sees something she really likes–something she desires in a visceral way–she says she wants to put it in her mouth. This could be anything but it is usually something inanimate, something that you would not really eat, but that you want to “devour” in some way. I love that this is her reaction and I know exactly what she means. For me, the qualities of lusciousness also call into question ideas of decadence, the baroque, luxury, consumption, preciousness and many other concepts that seem related but are not necessarily so. The following address these topics in one way or another while creating objects that I would describe as exquisite (and, maybe…, edible).

 

 

Lauren Fensterstock, Grey Garden (2003; quilled paper; 20 x 25 in.)

 

 

Caroline GoreSugarcoat from the Beauty: Poison series (1 ounce of 24K gold, coated with sugar, arranged in a hanging installation)

 

 

Green Planks (2007, cast sugar, polyurethane, 78 x 3/4″ x varying widths)

 

Rebcecca Holland, Glaze (2003; 800 square feet of poured candy)

 

 

Jolynn Krystosek, detail (two above) and Verdure Series, Untitled 7 (2007; wax; 13 x 19 in.)

 

 

 

 

Roberley Bell, Flower Blob #64. (2005; cast foam with dyed plastic and flocking; 16 1/2 x 18 x 7 in.)

 

Tara Strickstein (detail of installation)

 

Shary Boyle Snowball (2006; porcelain and china paint; Collection of the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal)


PATTERN AND DECORATION

In a way this is an indirect homage to anyone who has revelled in pattern as a combination of shapes, lines, colors, forms and textures (including those ca. 1970s who made the words “Pattern and Decoration” into a so-called movement). But this is also thinking about pattern as a “device” that can be both beautiful and a little sinister (a la Charlotte Perkins Gilman and her yellow wallpaper). Pattern that is enchanting yet, perhaps, also, claustrophobic. Invigorating yet unhealthy. Appealing yet constricting. Pattern (as both abstract concept and physical construction) can be flexible, covering anything–a body, a wall, a floor, a vase, a piece of paper–and playing tricks with the eyes and mind. It can both define and obliterate, emphasize or belittle. The following do not just explore the idea of pattern or the history and significance behind certain designs but they use pattern as something fluid, something that crosses boundaries metaphorical and actual and that establishes unexpected relationships.

Stephanie Liner, Gibbosity, 2006, fabric, wood, paint and live model

Andy Jordan, Polymer Girl, 2004, upholstery fabric and PVC

Andy Jordan, Pica with Stella, 2003

Claire Coles, Wallpaper/Room Scene

Claire Coles, Wallpaper Brooches

Astrid Bowlby, ink on paper installation, 2006

Megan Auman, Living Room, 2006, powder-coated steel, 60 x 80 x 80 in.

Susan Lee-Chun, Facade (The Figurative Kind), 2006, fabric and polyfill, dimensions variable

Anne Polashenski, Lowry Faux Pas Obliteration (Little Boy’s Suit of 1860), 2006, C-print and gouache on paper, 18 x 18 in.


HEADS UP

In contemporary “Western” society, personal choice dictates what individuals wear–while there are some institutions that mandate a particular kind of dress (the military, other occupations, “uniform” schools), it is obvious that we no longer live under the same kinds of demands (or even laws*) about dress that once structured lives (*sumptuary laws they were called, and some of them dictated different colors for different social classes or barred the wearing of lace and certain textiles). This is true for what we wear on our head and/or how we arrange our hair as well as the other ways in which we adorn our bodies. 

Through a contemporary lens certain types of hats would seem a little “dressed up.” Clearly those living in Western society today do think about what they put on their heads or how they wear their hair but, as with other elements of fashion, the form and use is a little different now than it once was. 

 

Whether considered high fashion, special occasion, or sculptural, these contemporary headpieces from designers on Etsy both channel the vintage vibe and create a dramatic profile. They call attention to why and how we wear hats and set the stage for a transformation of sorts. 

 

Piperewan’s “Feathery Flower Brooch”

 

TopsyTurvyDesign’s “Sabrina”

 

Emphasizing the head and hair but creating work that is slightly less “traditional,” the following draw on the social and cultural context of hair and hairstyling as they explore history, identity, fashion, ornamentation, value, luxury, adornment, design, the fantastical, spectacle, and the body. 

 

Hair Sculpture by Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (check out her super fantastic “Shoplifter” graphic!).  Arnardottir is drawn to hair as a “primal medium” (described as such because it grows on the body) and relishes hair as a material that can be so easily used to explore vanity, identity, and power.

 

 

Mother Nature’s Hood by Trudee Hill in collaboration with Mikko Seppa (aluminum, sterling silver, and viscous thread). Hill (and Seppa’s) hood is gloriously both ancient and sci-fi, simultaneously suggesting the decadence of past civilizations and the possibilities of future ones.

 

 

Afro Abe II by Sonya Clark . While it is not exactly a hat or adornment for the hair, this work poignantly sums up hair’s social significance. Over the years, Clark has explored the dynamic between hair and self, hair and others, hair and history, hair and identity. 

 

 

Tiffany Wigs by Kate Cusack. Using plastic (saran) wrap, Cusack created these wigs for a Tiffany & Co. window display. While they playfully mock the ludicrousness of the extreme hairstyles of 18th century aristocrats, they are also a tribute to such pageantry and are just, immeasurably, lovely.  

 

 

Cobra by Candace Kling (From the collection of Alex and Camille Cook). This headpiece is made of ribbon (folded, pressed, pleated, sewn, molded). Oh, yes. It is breath-taking. Kling, exploring the transformative power of garments, believes that headwear can be empowering and has created magnificent headpieces that combine historical precedent and fanciful conjecture.

 

 


 

[On a personal note, I am a hat wearer/head adorner. Pictures from my childhood indicate that this has always been so. And, um, I would proudly wear anything from this post.]