Dear Lorna, Love Ray
DIGITAL EXHIBITION: Dear Lorna, Love Ray features letters written by Ray Johnson to Lorna Blaine Halper while Johnson was a student at Black Mountain College. The letters reveal snippets of daily life at the college, Johnson’s experience of his growth as an artist, and early examples of Mail art, a movement that Johnson helped found.
Made for Market
DIGITAL EXHIBITION: Many artists, like the ones in this digital exhibition, create art with the intention for it to be sold. An artist’s experiences, identities, and class can inform where they sell their artwork. Different types of markets also play a role in an artwork’s availability. Sometimes the market is a craft fair, where the artist must apply and be accepted as a member. Perhaps the artwork was sold from a display in the artist’s front yard. A client may have commissioned the artwork directly from the artist. Artwork that is produced in large quantities at a factory can be marketed to a national audience. By learning more about the artist and the story behind their art, one gains insight into the various markets in which the artwork was sold.
Beyond the Binary of Past and Future
DIGITAL EXHIBITION: The idea of the past and the future subscribes to a linear timeline that many artists actively seek to subvert in their artwork. If the binary of past and future is erased, what new parameters are opened for looking at and considering a work of art? How would that freedom allow artists and viewers to consider multiple realities? What was once futuristic can now be seen as retro and what was once old-fashioned can inspire new experimentation. When imagination is introduced into art, the idea of a multiverse becomes a possibility, where more than one experience can be real and shared. This digital exhibition considers how artists and their artwork conceive of the future and how they recontextualize representations of the past to expand the perspectives shared with audiences.
The Nature of Narrative
DIGITAL EXHIBITION: Art often tells a story. The visualization of a narrative through text or symbolic imagery separates the works grouped in this digital exhibition. Artworks with written language integrated into their composition tell a story with words. Artworks that use images of figures—humans, animals, spirits, things, and popular culture—tell a story using symbols and recognizable objects. Within these two categories, artists convey the narrative of their own lives or culture, whether from present day, history, or tales rooted in myth or legend. The art selected in this exhibition illustrates these many different story trajectories and celebrates the diversity of the artists.
DIGITAL EXHIBITION: Tensions can set the groundwork for an artist’s creation—whether they reflect lived experiences or abstract ideas. Many artists address conflicts around race and gender within their own lives and for generations prior through their artwork. Sometimes the tension illustrated within an artwork deals with the object itself and focuses on the material from which it is made. In this digital exhibition, these discrepancies are used as a mechanism by which to question everything from museum standards, which were often created with a colonial mindset, to previously held beliefs in materiality. By setting up an opposition within a work, either in its context or in its makeup, the tensions in these works address something greater than themselves.