Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Color Improvisations in Neumünster

I have packed my bag and am planning to hop onto the train early tomorrow morning to attend the opening of  the double show of Color Improvisations and fifteen quilts by Nancy Crow in Neumünster, north of Hamburg.

There has been a bit of a discussion on the Contemporary Group of QGBI's yahoo list about the recent showings of this exhibition in London (badly hung) and Dublin (wonderfully hung) and how the advertisement with a provenance of the name "Nancy Crow" had influenced visitors' expectations.
Margaret Cooter commented on this on her blog with some interesting thoughts, weighing carefully between the arguments for either side.
It is an interesting topic. I don't know how the advertisement for the two shows in England and Ireland was constructed. But when I received my invitation for the opening at the Tuch + Technik Museum, I of course immediately noticed that the quilt on the front of the flyer was one of the three quilts by Bonnie Bucknam in the show, while the prominently displayed name was that of Nancy Crow.

Now I happen to know some things about how the show came about, and how difficult it was to find appropriate places to show it - 50 large quilts need some space, after all! - because Nancy Crow's original intention was to show it only in art museums. As a matter of fact, it was my suggestion to Ginie Curtze to try at Tuch + Technik that secured this last stop in Europe before the show is supposed to go overseas.
I think it is quite justifiable to combine these two shows, especially since they are closely connected through the person of Nancy Crow - she is the initiator and curator of Color Improvisations, which shows quilts by her students from several countries, and of course she is a famous quilter herself. If museums and organizers of shows demand some additional attraction that will catch people's attention after Color Improvisations has been traveling for more than two years, that is quite understandable and acceptable. It's just a case of negligent editing that the flyer combines Bonnie's quilt with Nancy's name.
Does the name of the artist affect a viewer's perception of a piece of art? Of course it does - but that does not necessarily mean that this will be the same in every viewer. I openly admit that I was not terribly impressed with Mona Lisa when I saw the painting in the Louvre - no matter who painted it, and how many people think differently. On the other hand, I was really impressed with several of the works I saw in the Global Paper exhibition in Deggendorf, that I went to without knowing more about it than that it was supposed to be an interesting exhibit, and although I really only knew three of the names of artists on display (and one of the three turned out to be a doppelgänger). One of my most favorite quilts was made by an anonymous slave. All it requires is to keep an open mind. Great names may promise great stuff,
but no-names can certainly create great stuff as well.
In any case, I am looking forward to my trip. Let's just hope German Railways can cope with the fact that it is snowing...

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