For the Art of It
Art as tabletop décor at the Aldrich Museum
On May 20, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum will debut one of its most ambitious exhibits to date. An astounding total of 86 artists will feature 120 different works of art in a meta-group exhibition entitled The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects. The exhibition is organized by five different curators featuring five different themes. Richard Klein has been exhibitions director since 1999 and says this is one of the biggest and most complicated things he has ever done.
Conceived by Klein and Aldrich curator Amy Smith-Stewart, the exhibition attracted artists and curators from all over the world. Klein and Smith-Stewart first thought of the idea more than three years ago.
The Aldrich was founded in 1964 by the late fashion designer and art collector Larry Aldrich to foster the work of innovative artists. When asked to help define contemporary work Klein explains, “Good contemporary art reflects the time and place it was made. When people think of contemporary art they usually think of something that is experimental and pushing the edge.” He emphasizes: “If you are observing really good contemporary art and are an open-minded person, you will be affected by it.” This particular exhibit distinguishes itself from past ones in that it features objects designed to sit on tabletops, typically the size of a breadbox, about 18 to 20 inches. “Everyone has small objects and we all live with them,” says Klein. “They are also things that artists are drawn to.” The Domestic Plane is in all actuality the tabletop.
The exhibit is displayed as five separate chapters and each one has its own theme. Klein describes it as very audience friendly and something that he thinks kids will like. “Objects Like Us” explores the relational behavior of intimately scaled objects that personify or embody a human condition. “Jessi Reaves: Kitchen Arrangement” is a solo presentation of one artist’s sculptures designed after objects that are found in a kitchen. “Handheld” displays works from the craft world that are made to fit into the hand. “Almost Everything on the Table” takes a philosophical approach exploring objects and the concept of infinity. And, “On Edge” features pieces of work that use the edge of a table as its platform, boundary and relationship with gravity.
In addition to the five chapters, noted graphic novelist, illustrator, and animator Richard McGuire will present an installation on new objects called “The Way There and Back” in the museum’s screening room. There will also be a 240-page book with essays authored by each of the curators and a specially commissioned project by McGuire. The exhibit runs at the Aldrich until January 13.
The Oscar party hosted by THE RIDGEFIELD INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (RIFF) attracted 125 guests to the Aldrich Museum and raised funds and visibility for the Oct 18-21 festival, now in its third year. RIFF plans monthly screenings, discussions, and other film-related events. RIFFct.org