From the 16th to the 18th August, the very first Arts Night was held on the main floor of Graham House in Green College. The event worked very well as a refreshment and an inspiration to the viewers, although each person would take it in different levels and from diverse angles. It has surprised many viewers from the Green College community that this type of event dedicated to visual arts has never organized before in recent years. Since we have many creative minds around, it’s highly expected that the Arts Night will revisit sooner or later with its sequels.
The project of the Arts Night originated from Azadeh’s initial proposal of an event devoted to various art practices employing visual forms. After I heard the idea in a meeting of the Art Committee, I decided to be in charge of organizing and curating the actual event. Rather than narrowing down the definition and approaches to “Art,” the members of the Art Committee agreed that it would be much encouraging to open up the boundary of art. As a result, we tried to call for all multifarious usage of visuals, such as, paintings, drawings, sketches, doodles, photos, film, comics, sculpture, mixed media, installation art, concrete poetry, collage, papier-mâché, papier collé, bricollage, montage, miniatures & models, needle-work, knitting, jewelry.
Exhibition view of Anton Lee's photographs in gelation silver printing, in the piano lounge.
Five of our residents, including myself, expressed their interest in the exhibition. Keith showed me three of his works, which are an oil painting, an acrylics, and a drawing; Janny presented two of her acrylic paintings; Girish sent me three of his photographs taken this may when he was back in India; I chose some gelatin silver black & whites in serial forms; Alicia, finally, added a three dimensional sentiment to this show by offering two of her jewelry designs and three sculptures.
As a curator, I had to figure out the perfect spot for each pieces around the exhibition area. The activity of arranging objects and images contains many variables to consider, such as the mood and purpose of the space, participating works’ size, color, shape, and content, and the choreography of the viewers, to name a few. The main floor of Graham House has very peculiar atmosphere, as all other spaces have. I thought the show would work smoothly, if I could make each work fit into the existing display of the Green College Art Collection around the main floor. However, I also wanted to add some cheekiness to the arrangement so that any visitors could notice the presence of our show.
Alicia LaValle's jewelry designs and sculptures in the piano lounge.
First of all, I decided to give the most clear and established spot to Alicia’s. It’s the long and white wooden furniture covering radiators, where they used to keep coffee and cups for daytime. Set in this area, her solid artifacts could catch much attention without any friction with Kate Collie’s collages hang on the wall behind. Then I allocated Janny’s impressionist painting depicting the beautiful scenery of a lake on the side of big windows in Gibson room, where the sunlight came in and people could see the green trees outside of the building. Since my works are in black and white, it would be most suitable to Gibson Room, which is decorated in a theme of black and white photo works among the Green College Art Collection. But I thought the opposite direction could give a lively air to this clam space, and located Girish’s color photographs along Janny’s paintings. Meanwhile, Keith’s works were definitely fitting into the billiard room, cause they had the most colorful appearance and cheerful content among the participating pieces. Afterwards, I put my works in the piano lounge, on the fireplace, near the black grand piano and Robert Kipniss’s dark painting. It looked grate after all in front of the wall in dark green color.
Janny Ke's acrylic paintings and Girish Nivarti's color photographs arranged in Gibson Room.
Keith Lohse's drawing and oil painting in the billiard room.
At the opening, the Arts Night was much welcomed by the viewers.As the event was intended to be a celebration of our ordinary appreciation of artful skills and objects, they enjoyed the creativity and the personal interest of participating members. As time went by through the three days of the show, people spent their time in the main floor of Graham House, studying, chitchatting, eating, and playing piano. I wonder what they thought and felt there, surrounded by those new pieces presented by the Arts Night. Exposed to the public space for the first time, these artworks embodying personal concerns and perspectives would give special experience to our community.
* All exhibition photos were taken by Anton Lee