INSIDER/OUTSIDER Curatorial Statement
INSIDER/OUTSIDER features photographs, videos, and other traces of live art pieces originally created in non-art contexts. The work in this exhibition was intended to exist in the moment that it was being made. The original audiences for the works in INSIDER/OUTSIDER vary greatly. Some of the work was intended to be experienced by passersby, the audience at a sporting event, through news media, close friends, strangers who responded to a personal ad, and in a few cases, no one at all. Documentation from these art occurrences is limited and sometimes crude. Placing the artifacts that do exist into the context of an art gallery offers the opportunity to tell their stories. This extends the life of this work by allowing it to be revisited by a new audience.
The work in this exhibition responds to issues that demand an urgency that could not be contained or realized in an art-designated space. Much of the content of the work in INSIDER/OUTSIDER travels into dark territory. Joshua Schwebel creates an invisible infiltration in response to a horrendous historic event. Joanne Rice offers a daily moment to meditate on war. Milan Kohout takes a more aggressive approach in his public actions that confront issues around the impact that political structures have on human rights. Other artists such as Sylvia Schwenk and collaborative duo, Meredith Weber and Anna Trier take a lighter approach, creating pieces that investigate the nature of fearless play. Daniel S. DeLuca and Daniela Ehemann investigate architecture of the past present and future by collaborating with gravity. Jeffrey Byrd commits to gold leafing 15 different spaces over the coarse of 8 years in the most unassuming way he can muster. Vela Phelan casts the shadows of different deities to reveal the unseen energies hidden in different locations. Some of the artists bring social issues into private, intimate spaces. Lezli Rubin Kunda lives in self-inflicted isolation in a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv in an effort to understand the relationship between “normal” and “emergency” life. Jodie Goodnough mindfully uses duration as she creates a contemporary dialogue on Female Hysteria and the complexities of living in a medicated society. Chun Hua Catherine Dong investigates the territories where multiculturalism, race, gender, sexuality, and love collide by living with a different stranger each day as their “wife”.
In addition to addressing the ethics of making art in public, private, and intimate space, the artists in INSIDER/OUTSIDER investigate art’s role within social and political structures and examine the interstices between art action and everyday life. Artists from Boston show beside artists from China, Germany, Australia, The Czech Republic, Israel, Canada, and other parts of the United States, offering a diverse range of perspectives.
The concept of place means something different in the media age. We are no longer confined to physical space or physical objects. How does this influence contemporary art practices and the spaces designated to art viewing? Both in my artistic and curatorial practices, I provoke my audiences to consider the act of witnessing. I often present artwork that challenges the audience’s attention span, poses the question, “is it art?” and rewards the curious viewer. The pieces in INSIDER/OUTSIDER ask these questions and offer the opportunity to engage in a current dialogue around the concept of place and its power to shape experience.
-Sandrine Schaefer 2012
INSIDER/OUTSIDER exhibition catalog can be ordered here