Swept Away: New Exhibit at Museum of Art and Design NYC

More and more the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in NYC is becoming a favorite of mine. Want to know why? They keep doing cool things. Things that normal people can understand.


The next show I am excited about is —  Swept Away : Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design.

I was talking to a friend of mine today about art and accessibility. By that I mean, why can’t people who know and love art talk about it in a way that makes sense to people who don’t know anything about it? Why is there an ambiguous secret language for arty people that seems to thwart rather than elucidate the things they are trying to explain to the “common folk”? To be direct: why does talking about art have to be so damn complicated? Shouldn’t we realize that making art “complicated” might increase its market value today but will alienate the patrons of the future.

I alluded to this in my post about the fashion exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art but I think that MAD is one of the institutions that is leading the way in terms of contemporary art and accessibility. The show “Swept Away” which opens on February 7th, showcases works of art that are composed of, well, dust, ashes, and dirt. Similar to the show that I saw in 2010, “Dead or Alive” whose pieces were rooted in materials like bones and butterflies, this exhibition should provide opportunities for visitors to see works of art in materials that they experience everyday.

Although much of the work is theoretical and consists of multiple narratives and readings, you will probably walk through the exhibit thinking — whoa! can you believe she was able to do that with dirt?  And so, perhaps, the next time you dust your house you will remember the exhibit and think that you are, in part, a dust artist yourself.

When artists and institutions are able to show patrons that they are surrounded by art that they can understand and carry with them, then something good has happened.

Thank you Museum of Art and Design.

The Museum of Art and Design is located on Columbus Circle in NYC. Admission is $15 (and always well worth it). Closed Mondays open late on Thursdays. 

Exhibition image: Phoebe Cummings “Flora” (2010) 

PS – Dear MAD, Where is my history of scent exhibit?

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