Last week, I unveiled my most recent curatorial project on view at one of my favorite exhibition spaces, Marine Salon in Venice, California. This show, which features work by a group of young and emerging artists displayed within a domestic setting, epitomizes the mission behind my column Beyond the White Cube. The space and selected art work offers an alternative to the insular world of contemporary art by inviting the viewer into an intelligent and accessible dialog with art. The work was chosen to respond specifically to the environment of the salon and looks at each artist’s practice within the context of the home setting. The exhibiting artists blur the lines between fine art and design through craft-inspired styles. With the increasing speed at which contemporary art is produced and the proliferation of new technology, the artist’s hand is quickly disappearing from the finished artwork. We invite viewers to consider a series of meditative works whereby the creative process and modes of construction are still visible. The eight artists in the show approach the notion of craft in vastly different ways, some within their creative process, some in their source material and others whose work engages in a hand-crafted aesthetic. Exhibiting artists are Tanya Aguiñiga, Lisa Borgnes, Blake Collins, Alika Cooper, Stephanie Dotson, Nathan Hayden, Ana Kraš and Ry Rocklen.
Co-curator and proprietress of Marine Salon Claressinka Anderson and I hosted a private opening reception for which we sought to bring other artistic media into the salon experience. This resulted in a collaboration with Santa Barbara winery Municipal Winemakers, who created custom labels featuring an image of exhibiting artist Stephanie Dotson’s large-scale print “Drugrug” and we invited the band White Fence to perform. Our enthusiasm for this special project clearly resounded amongst the crowd: several people told me they had rarely seen so many people smile and look happy at an art opening. Cheers to that!