There’s a terrific line in the book The Participatory Museum about surrendering control of visitor experiences in order to enter new relationships with audiences.
“If your expertise is real,” author Nina Simon writes, “then you don’t need to rule content messages with an iron fist.”
For Currents, the first exhibition in the Lexington Art League’s 2013-2013 season, LAL is surrendering control of content and trusting local artists themselves to foster a dialogue about relevant artists and artwork being created in Lexington.
Currents will be a recurring series curated by a local guest artist who has complete freedom to design a show through his or her own creative lens.
LAL could think of no better person to debut the series than Louis Bickett, local artist, archivist, and all-around interesting guy.
“Louis was an obvious first choice,” says LAL exhibitions and programs director Becky Alley, who has taught courses at UK that focus heavily on ideas from The Participatory Museum.
“Louis actively writes reviews and articles for national online venues and also has strong ties to artists and galleries in New York and beyond,” says Alley. “Yet, he is an artist who many in Lexington, outside of certain social circles, has never met. Considering his prominence in national discussion about contemporary art, we felt it important to engage Louis in an open forum about art in our town.”
Some people know Louis as a longtime waiter at a la Lucie. Some people know him as the architect of The Archive , a sprawling collection of personal and cultural memorabilia like old dinner receipts, ashes from his late dog and his own haircut shavings that culminate into a life-long art project. Some people know him as the photographer behind Project Lexington, an ongoing collection of Facebook photographs documenting his perspective of Lexington.
And some people don’t know him at all—but they should.
For those who don’t, attending Currents during its run from Sept. 6 through Oct. 20 will be a fascinating introduction into Louis’ unique and valuable perspective on the local visual art landscape.
Louis includes the work of six Lexington-based artists in the show, including Aaron Michael Skolnick, Aurora Parrish, R. Clint Colburn, G. Haviland Argo III, Guy Mendes, and Phillip March Jones.
“I chose the six artists for this show because I not only believe in their work, I actively collect it,” Louis wrote in his curatorial statement. “I think their excellence is beyond question.”
“My starting point as the curator was a little odd in that the only work I actually chose for the show was Phillip March Jones,’ Bickett wrote. “Everyone else was free to do what he or she wanted. And, to my surprise, the only one of the remaining five to not present work as a room installation was Guy Mendes. Argo, Childs, Colburn, and Skolnick have all chosen to respond to their selected Loudoun House spaces in installation form.”
LAL views the launch of Currents as another important milestone in an increasingly participatory and collaborative approach to programming unique art experiences designed to energize audiences and bolster a thriving arts community.
Candace Chaney is the marketing director for the Lexington Art League. Currents will be on display at the Loudoun House from September 6 – October 20, with an opening party Sept. 6 featuring live music from Idiot Glee and food and refreshments from DaRae and Barrel House Distellery. Click here for more info on the event.