Two curators gathered a list of 10,000 American artists with the help of gallery owners, artists, and educators. That list was then narrowed to about 600 artists and a team of curators hit the road, visiting artists in their home environments to observe and discuss their work. What came from this yearlong curatorial experience is “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now.” Department of Art & Art History Assistant Professor Lauren Gallaspy was one of these select artists whose work sparked interest for consideration—and whose ceramic works are now part of the 102 artist exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
“The curators wanted to find under-seen and under-exposed art, from artists in places besides New York or Los Angeles,” Professor Gallaspy said.
The exhibition has a sense of mystery because the artists are unsure how their names and work appeared on the original list of 10,000. Gallaspy said she admires the exhibition’s purpose to expose and advance relatively unknown artists.
“Being in ceramics, I am used to my art being affiliated with craft. But that is part of the work, engaging with those ideas of being overlooked—it has an element of subversiveness to it—to sneak into these worlds and to be in that space,” she said.
Professor Gallaspy was also impressed by the magnitude of interest the curators showed in the details. They asked her not just about her ceramics work, but her poetry work as well. “Their enthusiasm for the whole person who makes up the work was moving,” she said.
Being part of this large exhibition has provided Gallaspy time to reflect. She said seeing the range of works and the power in the pieces felt like an honor and a surprise, to be part of it. Gallaspy attended the opening reception, where more than 1,200 people came together to view the exhibition.
“Seeing artists see art, seeing the process and connecting to the show was powerful,” she said.
“State of the Art” runs through Jan. 19, 2015. Professor Gallaspy has three pieces in the show. We are thrilled to see Professor Gallaspy part of such an incredible exhibition and for the well deserved exposure of her work.