What Curators Are Looking For

Yesterday I received an announcement about the Peoples’ Biennial at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College. “People’s Biennial will feature artists who haven’t had significant exposure, or who may not even consider themselves part of the art world,” according to the Peoples’ Biennial website. “Children’s science fair projects, mathematicians’ notebooks, painted window displays, collections of all kinds-by presenting the work of local artists who would not typically show in a gallery or museum, People’s Biennial explores the limits of traditional exhibition models, questioning the exclusivity of the art world and considering sustainable alternatives.”

Michael Carver-Patterson’s “Waiting for Obama” (above) is given as an example of the kind of work curators’ might accept for the biennial. Here’s what TIME OUT NEW YORK says about Carver-Patterson: “A self-taught artist and self-described activist, Michael Patterson-Carver makes brightly colored, stridently political drawings of two distinct types. In the first, serried ranks of placard-carrying protestors fill the paper in a manner reminiscent of a crowd in Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco’s work. More Joe Hill than Joe Six Pack, these citizens invariably seem sure of their rights and clear that their best interests lie to the left. Drawings of the second type are more elaborately envisioned scenarios, which can range from trenchant social or political commentary to paranoid fantasy to heartbreaking truth.”

Here’s what I found out about him at gclass.org: “After his exposure to civil rights protesting as a child, Michael Patterson-Carver has been committed to create works that engage in a personal form of political activism. Slightly naive, always strangely obsessive, Patterson-Carver’s color drawings of picketing and political protests paint a small history of dissent that is simultaneously comical, ironic, and profoundly human. Most recently the artist has started a series of drawings that read like allegories of destruction or chronicles of complex conspiracy theories often starring George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1958, Patterson-Carver lives and works in Portland, Oregon, where he first started presenting his works on the streets.”

There will be a public talk by Peoples’ Biennial Curator Harrell Fletcher June 29, 6:30 p.m., at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 118 St. 36 St., Philadelphia.

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