Established in 1974, the Creative Growth Art Center, was conceived during a time when people with disabilities were being deinstitutionalized in California. Founders, Florence and Elias Katz created the space with the inclusive individual in mind. Creative Growth provides an open area, shared workspace that serves people with developmental, physical and mental disabilities, along with professional exhibition space that presents seven exhibitions annually. With unending limits of artistic expression and an inspired environment, Creative Growth has successfully served artists and led them onto professional careers. Scanning their list of exhibiting artists, Creative Growth boasts an immense list of both longtime artists, such as William Tyler since 1978, and new artists, like Ying Ge Zhou since 2010. With an international focus, Creative Growth has welcomed individuals from all over the world to participate in their open studio programming.
Creative Growth's current exhibition, Matters At Hand, showcases the approaches to three-dimensional works of art through the multimedia use of wood, ceramic, installation and fiber, all by working artists at the Creative Growth Studio. Viewing the dynamic subject matter with the apparent innovative practice, each artist showcases an exploration into their individual medium and inspiration. Past exhibitions such as HOME Show and RE/Configurations have selected artists to discuss issues of identity, displacement, personal connection and the human condition.
Not only do these artists present in-house exhibitions, but have been shown extensively both nationally and internationally. From major art fairs, such as the Venice Biennial and CONDO, to major museums and galleries, such as the Museum of Modern Art, Creative Growth has successfully developed talent that is in high demand across the world. They have also collaborated with corporations such as Anthropologie, Levis, and Target to elevate their artists' exposure within non-art realms. Currently considered very valuable by interested collectors, Creative Growth artists offer a genuine artistic expression that is rarely seen within mainstream art and as our ideals of inclusive spaces expands, these artists, their inspirations and their talented practice are a welcomed departure.
Check out more of Creative Growth Art Center and their artists.
Art museum visitors usually adhere to a certain set of rules while attending exhibitions; keep your voices low and do not touch the artwork. However, upon visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, attendants might encounter a very different space. As a part of their Fringe Festival, the Philadelphia Museum of Art invited a performance group to showcase the art in a new light. New York-based Monica Bill Barnes & Company has thus created The Museum Workout. Previously a program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Monica Bill Barnes & Company were invited to create a new program for this specific space. With oldies hits blaring through the intercom system, the participating attending group, led by Artistic Director Monica Barnes and Associate Director Anna Bass, in glittering dresses and running shoes, jog through the gallery space, past masterworks by Titian, Matisse and Picasso. The Museum Workout stops at certain works to do squats and lunges, leading them through a 45 minute workout that doesn't necessarily act as a traditional tour.
Although the interactive performance takes place within the space, it does not point out or discuss specific works. With the voiced aid of children's book author Maira Kalman, the tour features an overhead commentary by Kalman that describes her specific art museum experience. Instead of commenting on artists, mediums or practices, Kalman examines her feelings towards the overwhelming quality of art, how they act as guardians over her, and even when the best time to walk away from the work is. This more personal content acts as a different entry point for some viewers, who may find art museums challenging to connect with and intimidating.
Her commentary paired with the fun oldies hits and the constant movement all aim to create a completely new viewing experience that has more to do with lifting our minds out of the veritable traditions of art viewing; this quiet reflection that we encounter. Museum Workouts wants to tap into the physical side to support a new understanding of the art; one that is perhaps more carnal and initially personal. By physically placing our minds into a different context, Museum Workouts successfully enables the connection of thoughts and feelings associated with the artwork that are rarely seen and even more rarely taught in traditional contexts.
Title image courtesy of Whhy.
The tableaux I create are inspired by relationships. They evolve from personal mythologies. I work with vintage, printed fabrics and found embroideries made by women of previous and more modest eras. I act as a collaborator, modernizing their traditional work and altering its original purpose. The fabric becomes the foundation for a fantastical exploration. - Orly Cogan
AT: As an artist working within fiber for over twenty years, what first interested you in utilizing vintage and found fabrics as the base for your work?
OC: Some of the first materials I worked with in early childhood were fiber based. I went to a Waldorf School where toys found in the classroom were made from natural fiber materials to nourish the senses. I learned to knit and crochet in the early years of grade school. There is a nostalgic kind of intimacy connected with fiber materials. It has a history everyone can connect with and inherently appreciate the human labor that went into the creation. Growing up my mother collected old samplers and quilts. The samplers often had moral sayings, warning to girls about being polite, tidy, “pure" and the like. My mother appreciated the labor that went into these pieces by nameless woman and girls and enjoyed the messages ironically. I majored in painting in art school and years after graduating I happened to take a one day workshop at The Museum of Folk Art which my mother had signed herself up for but last minute wasn’t able to attend so I took her place. That day I created a quilt square fairly quickly and with the extra time I had I embroidered between the seams a little nude figure. As it came naturally to mix yesteryears quaintness and conservatism with my own brand of sex-positive feminism with a dash of post modern perversity. The elderly women in that class were enchanted with my piece and the rest is history. Thereafter I started thinking about connecting my love of narrative with the homey feminine materials I grew up with using the wit of feminist social commentary. As time went on my stories became more political and personal. Some figures are portraits, others are playing rolls within the story line. The layering of thread drawings resemble children’s coloring book illustrations along with areas of dense needle work and complexity.
AT: As a pioneer in not only fiber art, but contemporary feminist art, what motifs and themes have become priority in the narrative of your work?
OC: Embroidery to me had a history that was based in a kind of patriarchy where giving women needle and thread to pass the time beautifying the home was something good for idol hands and would keep them out of trouble so to speak. These women may have spent hours working on a doily to go behind the back of a chair so the chair wouldn’t get stained from sitters sweaty heads. There was a repressive sexless grannie identity associated with hand work or a kind of cute craftiness about embroidery, it wasn’t considered high Art with a capital “A” when I was coming of age even with the woman’s movement of the 60’s and 70’s. I began to research more about woman’s long tradition of art making rooted in craft practices and I knew I was on the right path to continue with my work in the evolution of craft from a domestic practice into a higher form of feminist art.
AT: Your new solo show, Don't Call Me Princess, was inspired by your daughter and continue your narrative of the complex dichotomies of femininity, how has this new selection of work developed and evolved? Are there new themes you are exploring?
OC: The work is expanding in scale and I’ve incorporated a bit more overtly political elements in some pieces for this show. In particular in one piece which will be on view at The Brattleboro Museum (October 2018 - March 2019) titled POW (Power of Woman). It’s message is positive with several portraits of strong women, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stacey Abrams, Judy Chicago, Alice Neel and Freda Kahlo to name a few.
American women have grown up with fairy tales in our heads, and somehow that “happily ever after” idea is instilled early on. With my own daughter I saw how strongly princesses infiltrated her play, although she had no direct exposure to Disney movies or theme parks. I edited the few fairy tales we had, changing the sexist stories to empowering ones for my child’s ears. Whenever I went out with my daughter, people would call her “princess.” It was meant as a nice thing to say, and for a while she and I took it as such. But as she grew older, she rejected the title. She would frown and respond, “I’m not a princess, I’m just a regular girl!” I hope my work inspires people, to question, to see the humor in things, to recognize the beauty in the mundane and to continue the dialogue .
AT: What is something you would like to accomplish with your work in the future? Anything you would like to explore or experiment with?
OC: I am starting to explore the process of making my narratives a bit more ambiguous and introducing abstract elements with more texture that comes off the picture plane. Also I’ve been experimenting with mixing ceramics and other found materials in my site specific installations. I’m pleased with how much exposure my work has received recently and I hope for more such opportunities through varying venues.
Within the new Trump Adminstration's tax overhaul, a slight change could potentially provide a major impact to wealthy art collectors' mindsets. While the new tax cuts fees for both corporations and wealthy individuals, providing more money to spend at art auctions, a recent removal of art as a benefit asset from the 1031 Exchange suggests that these transactions may become less frequent. Normally used by wealthy investors as a tool, the 1031 Exchange allows deferment of capital gains tax that then rolls over the profit of a sale in order to purchase more art. In juxtaposition to this financial shift, international art auctions, fairs, and biennials have only grown in popularity; numerous new showcases popping up in cities throughout the world. While the opportunities for sales has risen, these new tax laws call into question the future of art as an investment tool.
Because art investment is such a niche market, the largest percentage of collectors residing in the United States and predominantly older generations, many suggest that these taxes will hinder sales by these investors, who will instead pass them down to future generations. Museums also offer an avenue through borrowing; namely investors receiving benefits by lending to art institutions. This however, affects only a certain percentage of investors and leaves room to ask what about the new generations of collectors? As the young and wealthy head to fairs and auction houses for investment opportunities, will these taxes deter purchases, and push them to explore other markets of investment.
This type of purchase proves to be even more dangerous for the investment market than previously seen. Media around these purchases make the market seem hot, paired with the frequency of opportunity for art purchases worldwide, which makes the market seem tangible for many young investors. However, because these sales are almost pre-planned and done so with only the wealthiest of interested collectors, they actually make the market more volatile. Without external bidding, with actual results, auction houses are able to increase growth and inflation without validation of a real price. This reveals to be challenging territory for young art-buying enthusiasts, but as Doug Woodham, of Art Fiduciary Advisors has stated, "Collectors are smart, tax-aware people".