Downstreet Art / Exhibits

The making of The Politics of _____

I have been staying away from this blog for way too long. I am very upset at myself about that. MCLA’s B-HIP program, what brought me to North Adams, is nearing its end, so right now is all about wraping up everything to say goodbye without leaving unfinished projects or assignments behind. So much has happened since the Liminality opening. What I’d like to talk about though is our next show. The Politics of ____. The show is about politics, but in a broader meaning. Politics in the sense of igniting conversation, between viewer and viewer, viewer and artist, and viewer and self.

Allison Milham's work

Allison Milham’s work

The reason it differs from the other shows we had at PRESS this summer is that for the first time, the gallery launched a call for artists. It was started in July and by August 1st, we had our final pool of submissions. This is when the fun starts. You get to go through all these emails filled with art, artist statements, bios, and you have to pick the ones you like. It’s like being at an ice cream store. There are all these different flavors, and you want the cone with 12 scoops so you can taste everything. But your common sense tells you that eating 12 scoops is impossible.

So you have to settle for the 4 scoops cone. And you know how hard chosing these 4 flavors can be. I went through this process with Melanie. And I realized I had a lot to learn on how to be decisive. Where I was hesitant, she went straight for the submissions she liked. In the end, we agreed on ten entries, including work from eleven different artists. Allison Milham, C.J. Shane, Elsi Vassdal-Ellis, Erin Smith, Frank Brannon, John Vincent, Julie Russell-Steuart, Margo Lemieux, Nanette Wylde (including a collaborative work with artist Kent Manske), and Sara Farrell Okamura. They come from as far as Washington state and as near as Church Street, North Adams. I loved this process. Being given these responsabilities, having to make decisions that would influence other people’s careers, made me feel very humble. Overall I really enjoyed the process and learnt a lot. My only regret is that I won’t be at PRESS for the show. Make sure YOU don’t miss it.

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