Monday, September 10, 2012

Artifacts of Matrimony exhibit

One of the first things my boss suggested when I signed on was an alumni wedding exhibit.  It's taken a bit, but we pulled it together in a joint show called the Artifacts of Matrimony.  

It started last year when I approached the College's art gallery director about hosting an exhibit of alumni wedding dresses and accessories... a kind of "fashion through the decades" kind of thing.  She countered with a question on the educational content (seeing as we don't have a fashion degree) and we settled on putting a call out for a national artist to "wrap" the alumni show with a fine art exhibit.  The call went out for artistic proposals and we started polling alums for dresses.  

First, it's easy to find dresses... everyone knows someone who has a dress.  But they're not alumni of MACC!  I heard great stories about borrowing a godmother's dress or the dress that was donated to Goodwill, only to be found again with great joy and then lost.  Or the vacation trip spoiled by a call from home regarding flooded storage rooms.  By the time we started setting up last week, we had 14 brides who contributed dresses and accessories from 1944 to 2010.

The artistic selection was no less exciting... while we received a number of entries, nothing really clicked.  On the last day of submissions, an entry from an art professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania appeared.  It was perfect.  Her work is a colorful, bold, neo-expressionistic depiction of family and matrimonial experiences.  She drove down on a Wednesday, dropped off a gallery full of paintings, used the bathroom and headed back on the road to be home for faculty workshop on Friday.

The result is, honestly, fantastic. The creams and whites of the dresses contrast perfectly with the strong colors of the artist.  We enlarged the brides' wedding pictures and hung them behind each dress.  Our gallery is intimate with a soaring ceiling that allowed us to dramatically fly two of the dresses from the center space.   On Friday, we hosted an opening reception with wedding cake, a chocolate fountain and punch... all the culinary accoutrements of a wedding!  It was well attended. For my first exhibit, I couldn't be more proud.

Read the press release for more detail and see more pictures.

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