BLOG BY ARTIST-CURATOR JENNIFER CRIGHTON
The title of the show I am curating as part of Wreck City is “We’re Hysterical”. I have chosen the artist working in 803 based on the nuanced relationship they have with imagery, materials and techniques historically and socially associated with women.
I have been reading about the period of time during the 19th century, when women were encouraged to take particular pride in the aesthetics of the home, and the company of their children and each-other. The perfect homemaker according to the Cult of Domesticity so popular at that time, was pious, pure, submissive and domestic; ideals symptomatic of a society in which the male dominated fields of science and medicine deemed women unfit for public life. I wanted to look at craft practices, the relationships between women, and the feminine aesthetic in a way that would celebrated a particular depth of intuitive and emotional intelligence, often misinterpreted and vilified, that I view as a unique strength in the work of women. I have used the funny/crazy interpretation of “Hysterical ” to draw attention to the possibility that such a title that might be earned by women who act out or display their passions and emotions publicly.
I was immediately drawn to 803 when the time came to decise which house each of the curators would work in. This house felt as if it’s last inhabitants had really made a lot of effort to make the space a home. I did not want the house to be treated as a blank canvas, or a replacement for a gallery, I wanted it to retain it’s own personality and sense of domesticity, to which each of the artists working in the space could then respond. Many of the artists have taken it as an opportunity to work in residence, and the house really has become an alternative kind of home.
During the time that the artist are at work in the space, a collection of gatherings and performances will occur: Sports of a sort will be played, and friends will meet around nigh-time fires, favela’s will be erected from scavenged materials. walls will be decorated, and tapestries will be knotted. There will be clothes mended and secret baths taken. Food will be cooked and prepared in the kitchen, dogs will lick things, women will nurse children, people will make out. A home is a place where life happens, the art in this house has taken on a vibrant life of its own.
~ Jennifer Crighton, Artist-Curator, 803 5th Ave NW