The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft opens a month-long celebration of the new exhibit “Storytelling as Craft, Chapter One” tomorrow with oral and visual stories. The exhibit runs through November 11.
During Friday’s trolley hop, Louisville native Mindy Shapero, who has several pieces in the exhibit, will give an artist lecture at 7 p.m. Shapero is a graduate of Manual High School whose work has been exhibited internationally. This will be her first professional exhibit in Louisville. Museum director Aldy Milliken has followed Shapero’s career closely over the last decade. In 2006, he exhibited her art work in his gallery in Stockholm, where he lived before relocating to Louisville last year.
“She’s been someone who’s always captured my eye with the way she makes her work. It’s very meticulous, very much a craft-based work,” says Milliken. “She uses textiles and fabrics. She layers a lot of her sculptures. When I started getting to know the art scene here in Louisville, I saw different connections to why she chose her pieces or motifs.”
Artist in residence Ellie Ga will also present “The Fortunetellers” throughout September. “The Fortunetellers” is a narrative performance art project conceived during a six-month stay on a boat in the Arctic polar ice caps.
Milliken says the “Storytelling as Craft” exhibit and its related events are one way the craft museum can challenge the borders between art disciplines and genres.
“Performance art was always something that was important to me as a curator,” says Milliken. “I’m always interested in how artists tell their stories, whether it’s verbal or through their work, through their textiles or sculptures.”
The exhibit will feature artists whose work is explicitly craft-based, like wood carver Edgar Tolson. It will also include six pieces by conceptual self-portraitist Cindy Sherman, whose work Milliken wants to examine in a craft context.
“She’s not someone who’s taking self-portraits. She’s drawing on our stereotypical knowledge and stereotypical references and building on them. So it’s really interesting to look at her as a folk artist in a sense,” he says.
Affrilachian Poet Frank X Walker will also make an appearance later in the month. Amateur storytellers are invited to take the stage during exhibit hours and tell a story. Video from the storytelling stage will be streamed live on the KMAC website. Also happening during exhibit hours September 19-22 is a collaborative staged reading of Homer’s “The Iliad,” presented in conjunction with IdeaFestival and Classical Academy Louisville.
“Everyone’s an artist, everyone can be a part of this exhibition, even if they’re not a professional artist,” says Milliken.