Tracy Feith Second of three exhibitions focusing on aspects of design
December 11 – 18, 1996
Main Gallery

Recently a publication asked me to write a text on why I chose to do a project with the graphic designer (among other titles) Mike Mills. The Mike Mills project (August-September 1996), was the first in a series of exhibitions I have planned as part of the gallery's 1996-1997 schedule, touching on three different aspects of design. Next in the program are two distinctly different and separate projects by fashion designers, Tracy Feith (December 11 - 18.), and Susan Cianciolo (December 20). Also planned for summer of 1997 is an exhibition around the topic of industrial design, curated by Abbott Miller. In lieu of some formulaic, pre exhibition synopsis or descriptions of the two upcoming projects focusing on fashion design, I thought it might be more illuminating to describe why I was interested in incorporating aspects of design into the gallery's program. Having just recently written the above mentioned text, I thought excerpts (with some alterations) might best serve that function.

".....Before discussing these particular projects, it would be helpful to briefly describe my interest in art, in having a gallery, as I see it now. My interest is in creating a context for art that knows it's specific role. The artists that interest me are those that are conscious that art making is a choice not a predilection. That the choice to make art objects is an option among many choices of how to effect change or touch society, equal to, for instance: making film, being a fashion designer, a writer, a critic, a politician, a wall street broker, a collector... But when they do choose to make art, (they may also do other things too), the medium and the form of that art work is completely integral to its content.

...although I am seriously interested in how productive it can be to blur borders, my hope is that by contextualizing art with other "artistic endeavors" it will primarily illuminate the differences of "purpose", ultimately, strengthening the separations, defining the power within each role.
By bringing "other artistic endeavors" into the gallery context, I do desire to create a situation that encourages respect. Where different aspects of design can be perceived of as significant in their own right, beyond their common function. These are not exhibitions of design posing as art. These are exhibitions of graphic design, fashion design and industrial design. I'm also interested in bringing into the gallery "real" design in order to force the issue that there is a lot of work being produced under the title of art that perhaps would be more effective if seen within the frame work to which it refers. I certainly encourage the incorporation of information about, or expertise from, one field to another. Yet it's also great to see artists actually, for instance, directing mainstream films; a realization that not everything has to be accomplished, (or is most effectively accomplished) within the format of art making at all times. One has the opportunity to change ones role to fit the desired effect. Ultimately, I am interested in encouraging clarity of intent, and therefore encouraging art to be it's most potent...."