Monday, March 2, 2009

Advocacy Art

april banks, maria mortati While there has been a trend in museums to move from neutral observer to advocate, it's tough to keep up with current events when exhibits are produced by large teams, or funded by grants years in the making. Advocacy art, and installation artists in particular have been able to make great strides in raising the level of awareness about various topics. Their nimbleness and low(er) budgets are often points of inspiration for museum exhibit developer such as myself. From time to time I'll post about who's doing what in this vein. When possible, I'm going to feature local folks. I'll start extremely locally– with an artist who sits next to me. April Banks is an installation artist who also freelances here at Gyroscope. In her work, she's been exploring the (sorry for the pun) dark side of corporate cocoa production and distribution. I talked with her today about her installation that opened last week. That's her above, at 1am hanging dozens vials of M&M's in the gallery. The vials are adjacent to photos of people puking up M&M's. Here's what April said about her approach:
"Personally, my approach is not hit you over the head-- (the installations) allow people to come in (to the issue). I present the information and my perspective on it, and find most people are curious enough about the issues so that they ask questions. Think I've found or made a few converts. "
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