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It’s Rude to Stare Drawing and Sculpture by Richard Criddle

  • Education

  • October 4, 2007 – February 24, 2008
  • MASS MoCA

It’s Rude to Stare featured the sculpture and drawings of English-born, Vermont-based artist Richard Criddle. In a personal “archaeological dig” into his childhood fears and stories, Criddle, as many of us do, interpreted these memories as larger than life. He presented his autobiography with oversized sculptural figures made from wood, bronze, fabricated steel, and found objects such as wooden blinds, furniture components, a furnace shovel, and heavy industrial hardware. Criddle’s trip down memory lane produced vivid impressions of people from his past. Many of the sculptures were inspired by real people who made a lasting impact on the artist, including his school-teachers, a grumpy war veteran, and a disabled child (about whom his mother told him “it was rude to stare”).

Criddle merged these true stories of actual people with those found in folklore to create hybrid figures — half real, half mythological. Their sculptural presence in the gallery resonated with our collective and personal memories as well as the artist’s own. The collages, drawings, and mixed-media self-portraits in the exhibition revealed the artist’s interest in how we experience ourselves in the past, present, and in relationships with others. These drawings, along with Criddle’s huge sculptural figures, provoked us to consider: are we looking at them, or are we the object of scrutiny? Is the crowd looking at us?

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