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November 2014
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January 2015

December 2014

Ann Agee

AnnageeAnn Agee is a contemporary artist living and working in Brooklyn. Working primarily in ceramic she has increasingly become known for her installations, appropriating traditional decoration motifs and playing with the organization of domestic interiors. Her recent sculptural works explore subjects both ornamental and narrative touching upon themes personal and humorous in domestic life, child rearing, and labor.

Agee had no formal training in ceramics but began painting on clay through a desire to create three-dimensional works. Agee’s experience through Arts/Industry was truly remarkable. Slated for a three-month stay at a fellowship, Agee anticipated working on a series of small vessels painted with scenes relating to Greek mythology; almost two years later, Agee emerged from the program with an exceptional body of work. Varying format from teapots, tureens, portrait platters, bathroom fixtures, wall tiles, and murals, her work was bound by the thematic content Agee gleaned from Kohler Co. and the surrounding communities. She spent time sketching factory associates, local architecture, and scenes of small-town life that she used to grace her ceramic work. A significant piece now installed in the Kohler Co. Pottery is a ceramic mural featuring the likenesses of 25 Pottery associates.

Agee attended Cooper Union School of Art for her BFA (’81) and received her MFA from Yale University in 1986. Agee recently created major installations at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY (2012) and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, (2010). Her work has been seen in prominent clay exhibitions Dirt on Delight, Institute of Contemporary Art, PA (traveled to the Walker Art Center, MN); and Conversations in Clay, Katonah Art Museum, NY. She was a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2011), The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1997) and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1989, 1992), among others. Works by Agee can be found in the collections of: The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; The RISD Art Museum, RI; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Henry Art Museum in Seattle, WA; The Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, WI; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, FL.


Donald Lokuta

Donald LokutaDonald Lokuta is a photographer who captures the essence of human behavior.

 

In his latest series he explores the costumed sea creatures of Coney Island's Mermaid Parade. He says, "Coney Island is in the southern part of Brooklyn, New York. It is on the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its amusement park, wide sandy beach and its boardwalk. At an annual summer event, marchers dress as mermaids, fish, lobsters, pirates, sailors, jellyfish, and various other sea creatures- and in a variety of other costumes- sometimes unrelated to the theme of the sea. This series of photographs were made before the start of the procession that winds through the streets and down the boardwalk of Coney Island.

 

The event gives the participants an opportunity to design their own costumes, dress-up and show off their creations. The diversity of bright and colorful costumes adds to the Mardi Gras atmosphere and in many cases offers an opportunity to display a side of one’s self that is seldom seen. Some marchers are masked as they assume another identity.

 

One of the women that I photographed for this series wrote in an email, “I was a mermaid! Her name is Katrina, Queen of the Waves. It’s my inner mermaid persona.” What we portray in our everyday life is also not likely real and the masks and costumes we put on during parades and other rituals, are an attempt to escape from one unreality to another- if only for a short time.

 

Anthropologist Barbara Babcock calls these dressing up opportunities, “symbolic inversion.” During these rituals, we are more likely to dress up in costumes that are the polar opposite of the person everyone knows. Events like parades make it socially acceptable for a person to escape into another reality.

 

These inversion rituals give us an opportunity to make our hidden fantasies real, even if they go against long held social norms. We can overturn social conventions in a socially acceptably way, and we don't have to do it alone. Our fantasies are supported by other participants and cheering spectators. Participants can wear normally “unacceptable,” sensational or even sexy costumes. And participation in many events is very democratic; you don’t have to be a movie star, great athlete, a political figure, or anything like that. You can often be a participant simply if you want to be.

 

For me, this is another window into how we see ourselves as a society and as individuals."