These sessions focused on art environments not in situ and strategies related to the ways art environments have traversed from the original site to the museum setting.
THE THREE POINT TURN
Pivoting & Finding New Directions
Relocated elements of art environments—and self-taught art in general—offer curators interesting challenges. At times, access to primary source material is limited and requires lengthy periods of research and investigation. Because of the nature of the works and the materials used in their creation, unprecedented or untraditional display methods are often required. However of all the challenges curators face, the interpretation of the works themselves might pose the most daunting task of all.
In this session, JMKAC curator Karen Patterson moderated a session with three prominent curators in the field. Each curator discussed a particular exhibition, either upcoming or completed to discuss their inherent challenges and opportunities.
10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m
Alternatives & Choices in Current Research Methods
Artist-built environments come in all manner of forms—from sites with the artist still active in their creation to fragmented in deep storage. They are often ephemeral by nature and are intrinsically linked to the life of the artists who constructed them. Furthermore, these sites are deeply integrated into specific landscapes, both social and physical, and as pieces dislodge and transition to new locations, the information they hold disperses. This presents unusual challenges for those looking to research the sites and their extraordinary makers. Researchers must find ways to not only take into account what remains, but also what is missing.
This session brought together a panel of scholars who have worked on research projects centered on artists of built environments. With their various backgrounds, the panelists illustrated the singular methodologies developed and used in their investigations to uncover meaningful information on sites across the United States and beyond.
Alternatives & Choices in Current Conservation Methods
Conservation of artist-built environments often takes conservators and technicians out of the familiarity of their studio or lab. This presents an array of challenges, and the choice of which way to proceed can be both exciting and daunting. Often the work is in situ where the uncertainties of weather, temperature, and humidity are variables that must be accounted for. Materials can vary from the traditional to found items to strange concoctions of ingredients. These are situations that call for creativity while holding to the highest possible conservation standards.
The panel was comprised of a materials conservator, two objects conservators, and a painting conservator, all of whom have worked in unusual circumstances and challenging conditions.
THE FAST LANE
Quick-fire slide presentations by artists and curators who assisted with The Road Less Traveled exhibitions on view in the fall of 2017 (featuring Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Loy Bowlin, Emery Blagdon, Dr. Charles Smith, Jesse Howard, and Stella Waitkin) highlighted new discoveries, asked big questions, and provided insights on the collaborative curatorial model.
AT THE CROSSROADS
Intersections & Engagement: Whose Culture?
For decades much discussion concerning artists who work(ed) independently from the academic mainframe was focused on nomenclature, what to call “it” and “them.” More recent scholarship has explored how the boundaries between official and unofficial culture are established, by whom, how they’re defined, and how they function. These cultural terms of engagement are varied and shifting, as the relevance of cultural lines of demarcation are questioned and debated in contemporary discourse.
In this session, three scholars approached these questions from varied perspectives, and embarked on a discussion crossing the globe.
Creative Practice Powered by Artist-Built Environments
Artist-built environments and their makers have fueled the creative endeavors of others for decades. They are extraordinary in their form and the approaches used to create them. Those who encounter them rarely leave uninspired. To some, these sites are spiritual havens, to others they are indicators of uninhibited creative growth. As they transition through time, the contexts in which they are situated inevitably change, leading to an ever-expanding ability to influence those who experience them in new and informative ways.
This session brought together a panel of artists, scholars, and organizers whose creative practices have been deeply informed by the life and work of artists of built environments. They discussed their work and pointed to ways in which their own practices draw from these artists and engage with ideas of immersion, the vernacular, and the living landscape.
6:00–7:30 p.m. HISTORIC DESIGNATION
Dinner and tribute night.
NEW CAR SMELL
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe performed a sound piece specific to Emery Blagon’s Healing Machine.