Anything goes for Telfair’s talented Erin Dunn | Visual Arts | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music

Telfair Museums is fortunate to have Erin Dun as Curator of Modern day and Contemporary Art. 

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&#13 Erin Dunn, photographed by Adam Kuehl&#13

This vivid and articulate youthful lady gained her BA in Art Historical past and English Literature from Emory in 2012 and her MA in Artwork Historical past, Criticism and Conservation from the Univ. of GA in 2014 ahead of beginning her career with the Southeast’s oldest general public art museum as a Curatorial Fellow. She was then employed as Assistant Curator, later assuming the part of Affiliate Curator, and now Curator.

Conference her at the Jepson previous thirty day period, I am struck by how a great deal impact she has wielded in the course of these types of a fairly quick tenure… In the museum’s retailer, her foreward can be located in the monograph Late Night time Polaroids, Photos by Emily Earl (Earl is the co-founder and Govt Director of Sulfur Studios and of the non-gain ARTS Southeast) she contributed to Seven Rivers Monograph, the 1st publication of American photographer Ansley West Rivers and has numerous essays in 2021’s Telfair Museums: Curator’s Choice.

In the meantime, in the Barnard-facing home windows outdoors the Jepson, Dunn is responsible for the #artwork912Boxed In/Crack Out reveals (currently on display is the “N/um” collection by City Market place painter Tafy LaPlanche which I wrote about in my April 27 column), although upstairs she has co-curated the “#artwork912CONVERGENCE” exhibit that includes is effective by 28 modern or existing Savannah-primarily based artists. She also structured “Elegies: Continue to Lifes in Modern day Artwork,” which provides with each other 16 international artists  to discover Black identification through the tradition of the culturally and metaphorically symbolic 16th and 17th century Dutch even now life style.

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&#13 Anthony: “Joe Morris Observing Automobiles Go By,” 1998, by Butch Anthony. (Paint on picket door).&#13

Dunn’s exploration and eager curatorial eye has resulted in the stellar “Feels Like Freedom” exhibit in the main Steward Gallery. It is the initially significant-scale museum retrospective of African American painter Phillip J. Hampton (1922-2016) who served as an influential visible arts professor, and eventual section head, at Savannah Condition College (nowadays Savannah Condition Univ.). 

Dunn pays homage to his legacy by means of her composing in the accompanying catalogue.

In addition to main an ambitious program of first and traveling exhibitions and programs, Dunn directs the advancement of Telfair’s escalating contemporary long term  collection with an emphasis on underrepresented artists.

I check out Dunn to talk about “Anything Goes: Present-day Art and Materials” which hangs in the significant Steward North Gallery and is motivated by the a variety of elements artists have employed in their work – from roofing shingles to newspapers to buttons. 

This wide thematic context has authorized her to demonstrate a range of attention-grabbing pieces from the Jepson’s long term collection.

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&#13 Lovell: “(My) Precarious Existence,” 2008, by Whitfield Lovell. (Conte on wood, wheel)&#13

She describes, “We usually try to have some of our contemporary and modern day long term collection on watch in the Jepson Centre. The way I think of it is that we generally have long term selection pieces in the Telfair Academy and people today don’t actually problem it. So, it only helps make feeling that we make house for some of our contemporary modern day will work right here, and current pieces that may possibly not have been seen in a extensive time in a new context.”

For this display, Dunn specially looked at work that was catalogued as “mixed media.” 

“It was a exciting chance to go by means of our operates and really pinpoint what mediums were remaining employed, on the lookout at artists who use found objects, collaging  with unusual resources.” She achieved out to dwelling artists to clarify what they had applied if it was not obvious. For illustration, the 8-foot-superior Suzanne Jackson (b.1944) piece “Her Vacant Vanity” is produced from acrylic, blended papers, canvas, panel, lace, mirror, sea glass, paper pulp, beads, and shells without having the use of glues or resins, “and then you have an artist like William Christenberry (1936-2016) who’s utilizing roofing shingles and promoting signage.”

Dunn feels this thematic thread of uncommon elements connects artists throughout all divides: “across divides of geography, privilege, official education, and boundaries of obtain. I believe it is an appealing way to include a lot of voices into this exhibition.”

She is especially fired up to involve the museum’s current acquisitions by aforementioned Savannahian Suzanne Jackson and Atlanta’s Curtis Patterson. 

“This clearly show is a probability for us to celebrate will work we previously have in the assortment and those people we have lately additional. We are usually rising our long-lasting assortment and thinking about filling in these gaps of probably traditionally underrepresented artists.”

Equally Jackson and Patterson have significant inventive legacies and are only setting up to get their owing. In 2019 the Jepson hosted “Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades,” the first retrospective of her work,  while Susan Laney and Melissa Messina have been instrumental in bringing ahead the get the job done of Curtis Patterson (see my February 16 column  “One of the Most Critical Sculptors of Our Time”). 

Curtis was the initial African American to earn a Learn of Visual Arts in Sculpture from Georgia Point out Univ., has produced several general public artwork installations during the US, and went on to impact a lot of artists, including Radcliffe Bailey (b. 1969) who is also represented in the exhibit.

We focus on a number of other pieces: one by Larry Connatser (1938-1996) labored in flat planes of color with his special and obsessively applied dots of hues that reference the pointillism of Seurat. Dunn exclusively chose “Untitled #2184” from the Jepson’s considerable assortment of his operate because it incorporates a  functioning lightbulb.

She also highlighted Butch Anthony (b.1966), a self-taught artist from Seale, Alabama who creates get the job done in “intertwanglelism” – his self-named design and style which he displays in his have Museum of Marvel, a drive-through museum in his hometown. Dunn states, “Untitled (#1, 165)” is a “really excellent elephant head designed of wooden and steel, painted silver. I believe its exciting to link a operate like that with a do the job by an artist these kinds of as Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) who manufactured these largescale assemblages, the place she would acquire disparate parts of wooden and then paint them one particular shade, like this monochromatic black. I like to consider how these same techniques are becoming utilised across the art historic divides…

“Some of these artists could have been influenced by some of the greater names in art background. We believe about the collages of Picasso, or the brings together of Rauschenberg, or the more conceptual art of Duchamp (like placing a urinal on look at), and how people principles are being reworked. And then there are artists who have no link to that world at all. They possibly have not researched the perform of those artists, but we can however see the same strategies.”

Really do not miss out on this eclectic, enjoyable display which involves religiously motivated will work by  Savannahians Rudolph Valentino Bostic (1944-2021) and Ulysses Davis (1914-1990), and by Georgia’s Rev. Howard Finster (1916-2001). I personally am psyched to revisit “(My) Precarious Life” by Whitfield Lovell (b. 1959) from the inspiring “Whitfield Lovell: Deep River” set up mounted by the Jepson in 2014.

I have also savored revisiting the phonebook with cutout names and figures pasted with each other by  Savannahian Addie Reeves (1901-2001), poignantly lying open up to the site with the range of the late, beloved author Jan Fishman. Apparently, Dunn includes the spectacular operate  by Marcus Kenney (b. 1972) “A Letter to Addie Reeves” made from wrapping paper, newspaper, matte, and photocopies which both equally references and elevates the  Yamacraw Village centenarian’s original generation.

“Anything Goes: Modern Art and Materials” hangs in the Jepson Center’s Steward North Gallery through Might, 2023.

Kenneth Proto

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