SETTING SAIL A tape mural outside of the Chace Center by "One Room" participant Colin Bliss.
The living ‘Room’
But what is “One Room,” exactly? Despite enormous amounts of planning, even museum officials don’t seem to know for sure how it’ll play out. They have, however, developed their own lexicon.
The show’s programs break down into five different categories.
Spotlight | Four times over the course of 15 weeks, the museum will host high-profile evening performances. It’s here where you’ll find spoken-word superstar Franny Choi reciting “Ode to My Armpit Hairs” and other poems; the noise/sex/chaos/electro/pop/rock duo Humanbeast perhaps performing songs from their latest LP, Venus Ejaculates Into the Banquet; a performance piece from J.R. Uretsky called “Bromance” featuring a gigantic, hand-crafted, neon green-trimmed sack of balls (you’ll have to attend to find out exactly what she’ll do with it); and a preview of a one-man-show from local video and performance maestro Peter Glantz in which he says he’ll collaborate “with the invisible — color beyond the visible spectrum, yeast, scent molecules, and sound — to tell the story of a blind man whose eyes were burned during a daring attempt to visit the sun.”
Assembly | These smaller-scale, daytime programs provide the steady, daily drumbeat of “Locally Made.” Every single day that the museum is open, from now through early November, visitors will find a new local artist or group of artists appearing live in the Lower Farago Gallery.
To help pull of this monumental (monomaniacal?) scheduling feat, museum organizers have recruited a corps of sub-curators who, in turn, have each recruited local talent for a week’s worth of activity orbiting around a theme.
Newport pedicabber and food writer Liza Burkin, for example, tapped restaurateurs, chocolatiers, mixologists, baristas, and food bloggers to participate in a week she’s calling “Palate: Taste by Design.”
For another week, Micah Salkind has selected five local DJs who represent what they say is “a cross-section of what one might hear in Providence right now.” Throughout the week — entitled “The Re-sounding City” — the space will hum and bump with deep house, hip-hop, R&B, and a dash of disco. The curator himself will anchor the affair with a performance alongside DJ partner Jackson Morley as “Micah Jackson” on Sunday.
“If you were on the South Side at a club, you would hear something very different from what you might here at a club night downtown or in a warehouse in Olneyville,” Salkind says. Their week will be a pointillist portrait of the Providence sound — “an aggregate of many different individuals who both influence each other and bring their own distinct sensibilities to their work.”
The Artist’s Lab | There are 10 “Artist’s Lab” presentations sprinkled over the span of “Locally Made.”
Beth Nixon tells us via email about her piece, “The Pangolin Within — Power Animals, Extinction and Symbiosis,” scheduled for “One Room”’s opening night, July 18:
“My ‘sister’ (an alter-ego I’ve created, Ruth Nibbons, MFA) performed at last year’s trendsetting-themed “Design the Night” at the RISD Museum. She gave an interactive lecture on Baleen in Art-Based Self-Care. Her presentation was well-received and so the museum invited me back and I’ve again passed the buck to Ruth Nibbons, MFA.
[For “One Room”], Ruth Nibbons, MFA will deliver a brief performative lecture, with visual aids, about symbiosis, power animals and extinction; she’ll lead participants though a process of identifying/embracing their own power animal, concluding with some hands-on activities to celebrate the beasts within. Each cycle of the performance/workshop is about 30 minutes long and will occur three times between 5 and 7 pm. All welcome.
What will it look like: timelines, leopard pants, thought bubbles, and cobra-skin high heels. Sound like: part vision quest, part motivational speech, part aerobics lesson, part call of the wild. Smell like: sharpies, cardboard, and pheromones. Feel like: hard to say. . . absurd? profound? engaging?”
Demo and Discourse | Curators are calling this series an “adult show and tell.” Materials and subjects include ceramics, glass, hip hop dance, theater design, gardening, the relationship between parenting and art, and “experience mapping.”
Office Hours | “There’s lots and lots to talk about,” David Dadekian says, describing what he’s got planned for his two-hour session scheduled for late August.
“Office Hours” is a riff on the academic practice of the same name. Participants are actually encouraged not to prepare anything, organizers say. Instead they’re told to simply come to the gallery, bring something they’re working on, and chat with visitors who are bold enough to start a conversation.
In Dadekian’s case, he’s a writer-turned-photographer-turned-marketing guru-turned-professional-cook-turned-food-festival-producer who’s passionate about the intersection of the Ocean State and food.
Our state “is one of the leading states in the country in the development of local, sustainable agriculture and its path from the farm to the consumer,” he says. “Just about everything that can be grown, raised or fished in our climate zone, is, and that results in Rhode Islanders having access to some of the best, and possibly the healthiest, food in the country.” Thanks to farmers markets, independent grocers, and local restaurants, not to mention brewing, distilling, winemaking, coffee-roasting, and cheese-crazy communities, “this is the place to be to eat.”
There will be nearly 65 “Office Hours” sessions, in total, with subjects as varied as tape art, patterns for leather goods, magazine making, 3D printing, and “the healing power of comics.” The series ends with a poetic flourish on November 3, when museum director John Smith sits for a session called “on what’s next at the RISD Museum.”
In the galleries
Aside from “One Room,” “Locally Made” will feature paintings, videos, and sculptors by local artists that have been acquired by the museum in recent years.
Two randomly-selected listings:
Jessica Deane Rosner
b. 1958, works in Cranston, Rhode Island
Election Gloves, 2012-2013
Rubber gloves, ink, embroidery, framed fabric flag, and wooden shelf
Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund 2013.30
b. 1945, works in Providence, Rhode Island
Meghan and Chris (Mohawk), 2003
Man with Spiked Mask (Anthony), 2002
Couple Kissing Under Spotlight, 2002
Avica and Bethany Embrace, 2003
From the series Club Hell
Color inkjet print
Gift of the artist 2005.107.11/.13/.15/.17