Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My show opens on Friday---my year-long curatorial project! "Countenance" will be around 25 artists showing approximately 35 masks. My aim in creating this exhibit was to get artists of all kinds, materials, styles, etc., to make a mask. My initial name for the show was "Making Faces." Ha ha! The gallery owner poo-pooed it because he said that the serious mask artists in the area wouldn't participate. Ah, well.

Personally, I love masks and am fascinated by their appearance in just about every culture in every period of history. Being in Alaska, there was some initial reluctance to approach this subject, as the artform of the mask is seen as the property of Native Alaskans. Regardless, I set a date and got a gallery and the idea was born.

I invited almost 100 artists---my initial plan for the show was to be BIG; 100+ artworks, all hung salon style so that the gallery would, literally and figuratively, be a crowd of faces! Quite a few artists (to my total surprise) declined the invitation, saying that they had no interest in making a mask. (Huh!?) Also, many people were booked up, art-wise, at this time of year---others said they'd be out of town.

So----it boils down to these 25 or so. The interesting thing I have learned from previous curating efforts is that people will say they're participating and that their work is done, ready to go, ready to hang.....and then they just never show up. I never know the true aspect of the show until opening night!

This Friday the 2nd is it: the opening party. Sadly, I doubt there will be much of a turnout. The temperatures have been cold in town. For the last week, it's been -20F to -40F. There is no end in sight at this point. The forecast for Friday boasts 'highs near 40 below.' Needless to say, who is going to venture out to look at art? My only hope is that people will be so stir-crazy with cabin fever that they'll need to get out of the house, you know?

It's been a difficult year for me. I haven't been able to devote the time, energy and passion towards this show as I had hoped and planned. I just didn't have it in me. I guess it's just as well, since the timing of the show, the weather and dearth of artist interest were against the idea.

The show must go on.


Sheree Rensel said...

If you EVER, EVER, EVER curate another show, please invite me. This post makes me kind of sad because I would have made a mask "FACE" for you in a heart beat! It would have been very cool too!!! LOL

Besides, I would love to send something to Alaska. It is so foreign! LOL LOL LOL
Seriously, put me on your artist's list!

The BOY's Mom said...

I know that you know the BOY and I would be there even if it was 100 below without wind chill. (:

As for the "cultural appropriation" issue, I think that this would be a good venue for stimulated discussion about it. And I love discussion about anything...so long as it's respectful.

Interestingly, I was involved recently in such a discussion on Facebook...the overall topic was white people wearing dreadlocks and how black people felt about it. Of course, I had to put in my two cents about the Native experience. It grew to be quite controversial but I was glad to have been a part of it.

We'll be thinking about you and the opening on the 2nd!

johnny said...

Wish you'd asked me...I would've been game...Sounds pretty lame to just turn something down....hell, trying something new....??
Anyways good luck with show...

A letter is in the mail....sorry it's been so long....

JOJO said...


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