When Deidre Adams was in town, Natalya, Benedicte, and I met at MAD, the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. We went to see the MAD Biennial, NYC Makers. The exhibition program described the biennial as follows:
"NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial is the first in a series of exhibitions examining cultures of making in urban communities. Showcasing more than 100 participants, the Biennial celebrates the artisans, artists, designers and other makers who live and work throughout the five boroughs of New York City today.
Presenting a diversity of cultural producers on a level playing field, NYC Makers is an open and inclusive project, featuring practitioners whose work demonstrates the highest skill, discipline and innovation.....Makers were nominated from a range of trades and disciplines by over 300 New York City-based cultural leaders and civic figures, and selected by a panel of ten, including representatives from all five boroughs..."
I had high expectations for the Biennial. I've loved most of the exhibitions I've seen at MAD. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Biennial didn't live up to the excellence of its predecessors. I felt the artwork presented on the fourth floor was much stronger as a group than those on the fifth, making the Biennial very inconsistent in experience and appeal. I also think the presentation of the artwork on the fourth floor was more thoughtfully considered than the fifth. This was both surprising and disappointing. I think, perhaps, the solution would have been to select fewer works for the fifth floor, and focusing on stronger pieces. Because the galleries were organized by intent, such as "Community Garden" seen here (anchored by an installation of organic plants and the naturally dyed yarn whose colors were created with the plants), artworks weren't really transferrable between floors. But I think it was a disservice to those artworks displayed on the fifth floor to be so crammed in because most couldn't be appreciated to their fullest advantage.
|A view of the fifth floor installation -- it looks busy and cluttered in my opinion, and makes it hard to enjoy each piece individually.|
|A view of the fourth floor -- I felt the more open display allowed viewers better opportunity to appreciate each piece. (I also thought this collection of art was stronger, with or without installation considerations.)|
Nonetheless, there were plenty of pieces that I thought were interesting, exceptional, and/or thought-provoking . Here are some of my favorites:
|Parasol Skeleton Hat, 2012|
Wood, straw, cotton
|Echo Hat, 2014|
displayed in front of Vigilant Floral, 2011
Flavor Paper and Dan Funderburgh
(If you look closely, you'll see security cameras within the floral wallpaper design)
|A Knight of the Round Table and Sir Gawain|
from King Arthur's Camelot, Cincinnati Baller, 2013-14
Sally Ann Parson, Parson-Meares Ltd, Sandra Woodall, designer