WMU Home About WMU College of Fine Arts

Main Menu

NYPOP Emerging Curators Series: Make/Do

Jan. 9–Feb. 14, 2014

Monroe-Brown Gallery


Rosemarie Fiore, Erin Dunn, Saya Woofalk, Emily Noelle Lambert, Alejandro Guzman

Curator, Lauren Rosati

"Creation is performance." —Mikel Dufrenne

In 1953, Harold Rosenberg dubbed the work of Jackson Pollock "action painting," underscoring the notion of the artwork as the result of a creative act. Since then, the concept of performativity has been critical to understanding the production of contemporary art as a process or event and the object of contemporary art as animated by and contingent on the "act" of its creation and reception.

Distinct from performance art—which is predicated on the intervention of the artist's own body or the body of another performer—performative objects are static. Yet they reference both the active "manipulation of space" and "the [active] body," which are "central to the visual impact of the work." This performative turn in contemporary art refers not only to the artwork itself, however, but also to a peculiar kind of engagement between the artist and viewer; if the artist is an active agent in the construction of his or her work, then the viewer (whether a curator or spectator) is, in turn, an active participant in the construction of the work's meaning.

"MAKE/DO" includes the work of five contemporary artists based in New York City who engage with the notion of performativity through the realm of craft. Whether creating teetering sculptures made from everyday objects, mobile habitats constructed from discarded materials, or paintings and totems crafted from layers of pigment, wood and paper, the artists in this exhibition knit, assemble, scatter, paint, edit, transform and mold materials into objects that retain traces of their creation.

This exhibition incorporates an expanded conception of craft outside traditional mediums to include painting, video, and performance. The works included in "MAKE/DO"are notable for their materials (shoddy and select) and quality of production (scrupulous and slapdash), which collapse the distinction between fine art and craft, and encourage us, as viewers, to participate in their re-production and reception, to their "making" and "doing."

Interactive PDF (works best in Adobe Reader)