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Art receptions and being receptive to art

Last Sunday, I'd gone to a reception at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton. They've got several shows that just opened, and fascinating ones. Josh Simpson's glass works are there (he's going to be the artist GoH at Arisia next year). If you go see, make sure to catch the video of the making of the mega-planets. Mariko Kusumoto's metal box sculptures are there. Utterly intriguing boxes with tinier boxes and objects inside, to a level of detail where you think it must continue infinitely smaller and smaller and they just haven't opened the others. "The New Materiality" is a strange collection of digitized works. Some work. Some don't, or not for me.

Remember when I'd dismissed the water-bottle net at the DeCordova? At the Fuller reception, I was talking with Dave Barresi and his wife (he's a furniture maker whose work is one of the pieces on MIT's Kresge lawn as part of the 2010 Funiture Society Conference) about what is or isn't art. This was triggered by an exhibit in the cafe of Deena Schnitman's folded cookbooks. I'd spoken earlier with the artist herself: she's very nice! But as with the hog guts, just how important is context? Back in Girl Scouts, or maybe even Brownies, in the 60s, we'd folded Reader's Digest magazines almost like this and painted them green for Christmas trees. That wasn't art. Being able to see the possibilities, the effects, of multiple folded books and the patterns and play of light they could create when mounted on a wall... does that become art? If one side of art is to make you see common things in a different way, the context has to matter. The common must be out of its place, or it's commonplace. Or is that true?

So I'd started talking about the net when a friend of theirs came by to say hi. Turns out he was on the committee that chose the pieces for that exhibit. Luckily, he was a very nice fellow, and, luckily, I'd very much liked the Otto Piene work that was his particular inclusion and was able to tell him so when he asked how I'd felt about that.

And if you want to see hog guts, I have two more pieces I need to photograph, and then I'll post thumbnails here.