Ask the Curator is a virtual Q&A moderated by 2020 Center for Craft Curatorial Fellow, Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy. Vizcarrondo-Laboy will explore themes of her exhibition, Sleight of Hand, in conversation with Garth Johnson, Paul Phillips & Sharon Sullivan Curator of Ceramics at Everson Museum of Art, and exhibition artists Salvador Jiménez-Flores, and Natalia Arbelaez.
Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Johnson, Jiménez-Flores, and Arbelaez will join us live on Friday, January 15 from 4-5pm EDT.
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About the exhibition
Sleight of Hand brings together eleven works by six contemporary artists in the United States (US) who create humorous, quirky, or anthropomorphized objects in clay, centered around complex issues of race, gender, and immigration status, among other pressing social and political realities of our day. For these artists, humor is not merely an aesthetic choice; it is also a tool of resistance, resilience, and healing. The deliberate use of humor in ceramics traces back to the 1950s and 1960s Bay Area Funk art. However, in recent years, a younger and far more diverse generation of artists has revitalized this artistic strategy. This exhibition highlights this critical shift in the field of ceramics through the lens of artists of color. While the exhibition focuses on clay, the objects on display point to an expanded field that moves beyond sculpture to include video and paintings featuring ceramics.
As the exhibition title suggests, the exhibiting artists use their hands to produce visual illusions out of clay that, while cheery on the surface, can carry serious undertones. Humor is inherently deceptive, often the result of an exaggerated truth or a cunning trick that lends levity and clarity to subjects that are taboo or otherwise difficult to discuss. Strategies of irreverence, irony, absurdity, and cuteness are employed in Sleight of Hand to subversively establish accessible platforms for dialogue and engagement with profound and complicated narratives.
About the curator
Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy is a New York and Los Angeles-based curator, writer, and arts administrator of contemporary art and craft, specializing in ceramics. Her current research focuses on how humor, leisure, and cuteness in art are used as tools of resistance and protest. Championing artists of color is central to her practice. She currently serves as Assistant Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York. Since 2016 she has helped organize more than twenty exhibitions and installations at MAD including Surface/Depth:The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro, Tanya Aguiñiga: Craft & Care, and La Frontera: Encounters Along the Border. She also oversees MAD’s Burke Prize, a prestigious contemporary craft award, and curates its accompanying exhibition.
In 2020, Vizcarrondo-Laboy curated Clay Is Just Thick Paint, an exhibition of Jennifer Rochlin’s ceramics for Greenwhich House Pottery’s Jane Hartsook Gallery, New York. She recently contributed an essay on jewelry responding to US-Mexico Border politics for MAD’s anthology Jewelry Stories: Highlights from the Collection 1947–2019 (forthcoming), a review of the Whitney Museum’s Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019 for The Journal of Modern Craft, and was an interviewer for the Bemis Art Center’s exhibition catalogue Claudia Weiser: Generations (forthcoming). Vizcarrondo-Laboy was also a Visiting Critic for the Ceramics Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Visiting Lecturer for the Ceramics Department at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Fall of 2020. She is also one of the inaugural recipients of Cultured Magazine x Parker Pen Writer’s Grant.
She holds an MA from the Bard Graduate Center, New York in Decorative Arts, Design History & Material Culture and a BA in Art History from the University of Florida with minors in Anthropology and Ceramics. Vizcarrondo-Laboy was born and raised in Puerto Rico.
A special thanks to our virtual program sponsors, Joel Adams & Associates of Raymond James Financial Services.
Background photo by Black Box Photography.