It was a long, tense day attempting to curate a show exhibiting all of the second-year students in painting, printmaking, and performance arts. Since each department had at least two representatives, there were a lot of opinions flying around. Everyone wanted the very best for the students in their own department, and for the show overall. It was a tough balance and it involved a whooole lot of compromising, which is not typically easy for artists. We got through the day without any fights or hard feelings, at least among ourselves.
We did run into trouble with one professor, who couldn’t seem to handle the fact that this was a student show: organized by students, curated by students, and showing student work. She attempted to force a student’s work out of the show completely. The student paints sexually explicit subjects, but this is nothing new in the art world. In fact, it’s been done for decades by many, many well respected artists. It’s pretty normal. The teacher, however, was so offended that we tried to put the painting next to a feminist installation by one of her students that she confronted us. When we stood our ground (because there was literally no other space for it, it was the only place that couldn’t be seen from the street-level windows) she convinced another student to complain that they were ethically opposed to being around it. Drama drama drama.
In the end, it all worked out. The pornography painter had recently finished a nude that we were able to use for the show. Although it was quite explicit, it technically wasn’t engaging sexually with itself or anything or anyone else.
I think the censorship of content in an art university is really bizarre. It seems completely antithetical. Here, more than anywhere, creative expression should be encouraged in all its forms. It’s not even like pornography in the art world is particularly shocking. Frankly, the subject is old news. I don’t understand what the big deal was today.
In the end, I think it came together wonderfully. All of the curating team was happy with the results. I think that every single piece looks great. Every single piece is displayed to its best advantage and quite democratically. I don’t think there’s any space that ended up being much better or worse for a work than any other. We worked really hard all day, and I still can’t believe we pulled it off. Not only that, but we all still liked each other at the end of the day.
We went out to a pub, “Pava Tava” (or, for the non-locals, Pavilion Tavern) to relax and reflect on the day with some friends.
And then I headed home for some leftover CHICKEN FIESTA, this time with rice, and watched a film with Alice. I feel quite satisfied and quite exhausted. I’ll have pictures of the show as soon as all of the work is actually on the walls.
I hope everyone is enjoying the 12 inches of snow in Kansas City. I think Brighton may have had a few sympathy flurries this morning… before I was awake… that didn’t stick. But I heard through the grapevine! I remember last time we were snowed in, after 2 consecutive days in the house Dad took all the kids on an hour carride to the Sonic in Westport for their soft drink happy hour. I don’t miss snow, but I do miss that family time. And I miss enormous diet cokes.