3D: Demo, Display, Documentation

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This lecture offers a critical lens on three aspects of professional practice: the making, presenting, and recording of one’s studio work. The initial section, “Demo,” focuses on the modern importance and contemporary place of the demonstration in promoting your work.  The manual-oriented nature of glass and ceramics continues to fascinate the public and incites a pleasurable, kinesthetic understanding of making.  Recent scholarship in “showing making” highlights the multiple functions of the demonstration from its archival nature to its participatory function. 

 

“Display,” the second section, explores an array of strategies of how to present one’s work after it leaves the studio.  I begin by discussing the role of the pedestal and by offering a series of short, case-studies of how various sculptors—from the neo-classical figurations of Antonio Canova to the minimalist proposals of Dan Flavin—have reconsidered this support.  Recent gallery installations by Arlene Shechet and Josiah McElheny show their close attention to the display strategies of twentieth-century artists Constantine Brancusi and Isamu Noguchi. 

 

The final section, “Documentation,” offers a range of possibilities on how photography records, interprets, and extends the meaning of sculpture. I begin with an overview of the intersection of sculpture and photography from the mid-19th century to the present.  Recent scholarship demonstrates how these two mediums implicate the understanding of each other by expanding the ways in which we encounter and think about sculpture.  Bracketing my discussion of these modern tactics are examples of emerging glass and ceramic artists who use photography to provide alternative frameworks for marketing their product and for extending their studio practice.  

 

This lecture may be given as a survey of professional practices or as three specific lectures on approaches of demonstrating, strategies of display, and tactics of documentation.