I recently went to the Glenbow with my humanities class. We saw the Paul Hardy exhibit: Kaleidoscopic Animalia.
Hardy is a well known fashion designer and over the summer he was the Glenbow’s artist in residence. He scoured the Glenbow’s vault, more about collected a bunch of artifacts and then used them as inspiration for fashion displays.
The exhibit is set like a street for window shopping. There are a number of displays that combine fashion with artifacts and paintings from the Glenbow’s collection.
When my class discussed the exhibit afterwords we all found the exhibit to be very problematic and a prime example of cultural appropriation. The use of cultural artifacts as props seemed disrespectful and the mix matching of different cultures with in the same display showed a lack of awareness and information.
Usually when museums create dioramas in this manner, they feature animals and are specific and as true to life as possible. In this case, the use of mannequins suggest that this is a recreation of human history, and it is completely inaccurate. If museums are a place for learning and discovery this exhibit is teaching false information. I have mixed feelings of wether or not to suggest checking it out. If you do decide to go, go with a critical eye. This exhibit runs until May 22, 2016.
I sat down with my friend Danni Reid to interview her on her practice and where it has gone since she graduated from ACAD nearly two years ago with a major in painting. Danni has now almost completed her education degree and is interning full-time in an art classroom. I was excited to see how this affected her practice/responses.
What piece in your practice challenged you the most as an artist?
“Working big has challenged me as an artist, generic
I made a large canvas and painted it with watered down acrylic paint in hopes of creating an abstract expressionist piece. Working large has always intimidated me. However, I enjoy the challenge.”
What was the most difficult part of transitioning from being a full-time artist to also becoming an educator of it?
“Simplifying and refraining from just doing the students work for them has been my greatest challenge so far. It is very easy to just “do” then to explain something ten different times. Modifying common “art” language to meet the needs of all individuals is key.”
How has teaching art benefitted you as an artist?
“Teaching art has given me more confidence as an artist. For example, after teaching the elements and principles of design, they are now more prominent in my mind when I am working. Before teaching they had become second nature and were not given as much thought. I have become more considerate of the basics of art making.”
Although I am not overly cultured in the art world, it seems that education in art is a very close second for profession for working artists. I have always been interested in the effect of teaching on art, and vice versa. This was a great opportunity to begin that conversation.