Kidspace Encourages Visitors to Keep Asking Questions in Curiosity
Exhibition Opens June 23, 2012, 11 AM to 1 PM
Beginning June 23, visitors can delve into a world full of dinosaurs, superheroes, ninjas, cowboys, and monsters at Kidspace’s newest exhibition, Curiosity. Chock full of unexpected, outlandish, fantastic objects-turned-artworks that kids likely already have questions about, this exhibition will inspire curiosity and instill a sense of wonder in both junior and senior visitors. Each artist encourages viewers to indulge their urge to investigate.
Curiosity features nine internationally acclaimed artists. Colin Boyd of Troy, New York, weaves narratives into his large-scale sculptures. Often, the narratives, which are inspired by forgotten and discarded objects, revolve around an eccentric person who has made a discovery or built a collection. The sculptures and their accompanying narratives explore the peculiar and at times uncertain human relationships to folklore, natural history, and the future. Curiosity will include Boyd’s large mastodon and elephant bird sculptures.
A former comic-strip artist and painter for Universal Studios, Dave DeVries‘ career took off after an encounter with his niece’s drawings of monsters. He applied his artistic training and background to children’s artwork, rendering the images with a realism beyond the reach of these younger artists. DeVries’ project The Monster Engine is at once a book, demonstration, lecture, and gallery exhibition, all stemming from one simple question: “What would a child’s drawing look like if it were painted realistically?”
The prints and spray paint sketches of L.A.-born Gajin Fujita are a remix of Japan and Los Angeles, tradition and pop, the codified and subversive. Merging graffiti and hip hop with geishas, warriors, dragons, and other images from Japanese iconography, Fujita synthesizes these diverse traditions and styles to produce a new genre for our era of ever increasing cultural cross-over. Look for his ninja and dragon prints and a sample of his spray painting stencil in Curiosity.
Ephraim and Sadie Hatfield, of Adams, MA, create interactive public works that explore themes such as consumer culture, relational exchanges, gift economies, performance, and now, history and collecting. In Curiosity, they have re-interpreted and re-imagined the Renaissance-era cabinets of curiosity to suit the contemporary digital age. Traditional cabinets of curiosity contained natural and human-made wonders collected by kings and queens, lords and ladies. The Hatfields’ collections will invite viewers to explore the mysteries of the 21st century.
The CGI (“computer generated image”) works of Toronto-based artist Alex McLeod present viewers with hyper-realistic yet fantastical 3D landscapes. The impossible worlds that McLeod constructs contain mountains, lakes, fires, clouds, and at times, signs of a human presence (such as train tracks), though never human figures themselves. McLeod’s playful yet eerie images address concepts such as ecological responsibility and the overlap between photography and painting, digital and handcrafted.
New York City-based Nathan Sawaya creates wonders with thousands of LEGO toy building blocks. His chosen medium awakens the inner child in his viewers, while also inspiring awe in the scale, precision, and range of his subject matter. Sawaya has made life-size portraits of superheroes, politicians, and everyday people from LEGO’s, as well as hunting trophies, bicycles, and optical illusions such as LEGO sculptures made to look like ice sculptures.
Photographer Muir Vidler, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and now based in London, England, is known for seeking out the subversive or the ironic in his photographs and series. Trained as a photojournalist, his subjects include tattooed seniors (Rebels Without a Pause), the music scenes in Israel (Israeli Death Metal) and Glasgow (Glasgow Music), and supermodels juxtaposed with Muammar Gaddafi (Libyan Beauty Pageant). His work has been commissioned by magazines, corporations, and record labels, though he still makes time for his personal projects.
Israeli-born and San Francisco-based artist Yoram Wolberger creates larger-than-life-sized sculptures based on childhood toys and everyday household objects. Through his distortions and enlargements of these trinkets, usually overlooked or assumed to be innocuous, Wolberger alerts viewers to the subtext of prejudice and stereotype many such toys embody. His cowboy and Indian sculptures highlight the divisive “us vs. them” dynamic that such toys create, while bride and groom figurines reinforce outdated gender roles, exposing the influence of such objects on Western culture.
The Art Cabaret, an art-making studio included in Curiosity, will serve up inspiring art materials and art challenges for children to explore at café-style seating.
Curiosity will open to the public on Saturday, June 23, 2012. The opening will take place from 11 AM to 1 PM, and will embrace the spirit of a carnival: art-making activities, games, and more. Refreshments will be served. The gallery will remain open until 4 PM. Additional curiosity-themed exhibitions will be organized by our partners, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Williams College Museum of Art, to open in the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013.
Kidspace will host its first annual Summer Institute for Educators this summer, focusing on the theme of curiosity in the schools and in arts-centric curricula. Registration is full but the keynote address, given by Dr. Jessica Hoffman Davis, is free and open to the public. Davis is a cognitive developmental psychologist and founder of the Arts in Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The address will be given at 4 PM on Monday, July 30, 2012, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, and will be followed by a reception and book signing at 5 PM.
During the summer, Kidspace will be open to the public every day from 11 AM to 4 PM with art-making. After the start of the school year in September, Kidspace will be open to the public every day except Tuesday from 11 AM to 5 PM. Art-making will take place on weekends and school holidays.
Kidspace at MASS MoCA, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio, presents exhibitions and educational experiences in collaboration with leading artists.
Major season support for Kidspace is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Anne R. Avis and Gregory M. Avis Fund. Additional support by the Milton and Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation, and Alice Shaver Foundation in memory of Lynn Laitman; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; the George D. and Valerie P. Kennedy Fund at The Chicago Community Trust; and the Berkshire Bank Foundation – Legacy Region.