You Can Go Home (Again)
INTERVIEW WITH COLLABORATING CURATOR JUDY BYRON
REPRISE: 40 to the Fore rethinks, remixes, and re-presents some of the groundbreaking exhibitions that emerged from our galleries over the past 40 years.
Home (again) (2014) in response to Home (1992)
In 1992, artist and curator Judy Byron presented Home. AAC invited Judy Byron back to collaborate on this exhibition to look at how four artists deal with concepts of home in myriad ways. Home (again) features work by two artists that were in the 1992 show – Craig Pleasants and Luis Flores – as well as two artists that are new to AAC – Janell Olah and Anna Tsouhlarakis.
How did you come to curate Home at AAC in 1992?
The early 90’s were the time of the Great War! – The Culture Wars. I remember attending a panel when Robert Borg announced that whoever defined the culture, controlled the conversation. Then, the canons of culture felt bombarded and threatened by the exploration of the aesthetics identity and taste — multiculturalism. And although, I didn’t see in my own work a way to grapple with these concepts as broadly as I would like, I greatly wanted to investigate and explore the avenues of taste and difference. Some of the impetus was my own background as a working class, Italian-American kid who didn’t fully identify with the hierarchy nor naturally embrace traditional standards of art. Since I was an AAC artist board member at that time, I offered to curate the exhibit Home as one of my contributions to Art Center and as a way explore some issues very important to me as well, I thought, others.
Why did you choose to look at the concept of home?
In all of my work, I am looking for common ground, and the chance to explore differences as well as similarities. Home is something we all have in common, across lines of race, class, age and gender. We all need a home. And I think, even when homeless, we all try to create a sense of place to feel “at home” — safe and with our self. It also seemed the process of making a home allows us to express our idiosyncratic sense of taste and identity. I thought by matching each artist with an ‘expert’ – someone living in a specific home environment that was decidedly different from the artist’s, I could provide a common ground for creative exploration and conversation about the issues of taste and difference.
How does your work as a curator relate to your practice as an artist?
As an artist, I always value process. “How will I grow?” And I believe that concept was a central element of Home. I wanted to provide a meaningful experience of creative exploration for each artist, each of the area experts, for myself, and for an audience of art viewers. For me, this is an important dynamic of art.
Do you think artists and curators have a responsibility to address social issues in their work?
I am deeply connected to the concept art and life as interrelated. Yet, I also believe everyone has a right to their own personality, especially when it comes to making art. For me, it is very important to address social issues through my work. And I’d like to feel that a breadth of approaches from many different sources could be included in the definition of “What is art?”
Save the date! Saturday, Sept. 6, from 1 pm to 4 pm we will host a gallery talk featuring the artists and curators for Home (again) and AIDS Unanswered. Come to hear from the artists and curators, stay to mingle with them over wine and cheese.