Brockton's Fuller Craft Museum
Under New Management: The Commodification of the Permanent Collection
By: Fuller - Apr 13, 2021
Debuting on April 24, 2021 in the Lampos Gallery, Under New Management: The Commodification of the Permanent Collection features works from Fuller Craft’s permanent collection selected by guest curators and Boston-area artists Oliver Mak, Kenji Nakayama, and Pat Falco. Operating as a fictitious marketing company, MFN Integrated Solutions, the curatorial team aims to activate the collection while challenging the perception of museums through exhibition curation and design, including promotional posters created by artists/sign painters Nakayama & Falco as retail advertisements for each artwork. By reframing the works as commodities, the exhibition disrupts the oft-opaque nature of cultural institutions and offers new ways of looking at museum objects.
"How do we value works of art and contemporary craft? Why do we accept when an institution deems a piece as museum-worthy? How do you interpret items from a permanent collection for a contemporary audience? Under New Management: The Commodification of the Permanent Collection seeks to answer these questions.
The curatorial team—Kenji, Pat, and I—has long challenged the existing power structure within the arts industry, subverting the hierarchy through our creative practices. And all three of us have roots in graffiti and street art, which seek to eliminate the invisible barrier dividing art and audience, landlords and serfs. Early on in our careers, Pat and I opened independent art spaces as a reaction to being outsiders of the establishment.
When brought in to interpret Fuller Craft Museum’s permanent collection, we saw the lifelong fruits of labor of the highest skilled artists in their respective fields. We were challenged to present these works in a digital consumer age where every object and experience is filtered through your phone screen and every individual is forced to be a personal brand with their own marketing campaign. Our solution was to immerse ourselves in the thought-experiment of becoming the institution. To do so, we formed a corporation called MFN Integrated Solutions and decided that Fuller Craft Museum would be our star client, a case study in arts marketing, curation, and disruption."
- Oliver Mak, guest curator, Under New Management: The Commodification of the Permanent Collection
Meet the Guest Curators:
Oliver Mak is an entrepreneur, designer, DJ, and art organizer based in Quincy MA. He is cofounder of the fashion retailer Bodega (Boston/LA) as well as the annual Boston Art Book Fair. His previous curatorial work was as cofounder/ gallery director for Fourth Wall Project in Kenmore Square Boston. He also recently guest curated social justice actions with Pat Falco at Distillery Gallery.
Kenji Nakayama was born in Tomokomai on the island of Hokkaido, Japan in 1979. A mechanical engineer by education, Nakayama made a significant life change in 2004 with a move to Boston to study traditional sign painting and to dedicate his time and energy to art-making. Nakayama's diverse practice ranges from careful pinstriping and gilded lettering to multi-layered stencil paintings; and from abstract representations of Buddhist traditional beliefs to constructions of words and letters stripped down to their essential physical forms. Meditation and craftsmanship are hallmarks of Nakayama's work, which has been shown internationally and acquired by the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum and Ron Herman in Tokyo.
Pat Falco is an artist and organizer from Boston. He received his BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work has been shown at The Luggage Store Gallery (SF), New Image Art (LA), SPACE Gallery (Portland ME), Parklife (SF), New Bedford Art Museum, and deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum. His interest in highlighting and critiquing the absurdities of everyday life has recently shifted into the public realm, with a focus on Boston’s housing crisis. Through a faux-luxury development company Upward Living Associates, Inc., he has produced a series of installations critiquing housing policies and development in Boston, and vying for alternatives on a path to housing justice. He has organized shows at the Distillery Gallery in South Boston since 2012 and is the recent recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship (Sculpture/Installation/New Genres) and a participant in the Now & There Public Art Accelerator program.
"The heart and soul of collecting institutions are the objects under their care. These venerated items have been carefully selected, preserved, exhibited, and stored—in some cases for centuries, or even millennia. In recent years, institutional collections have made headlines, largely due to controversial deaccessioning practices and representation inequities; while at the same time, museums have come under fire for overly opaque and outmoded operations. As a result, the role of cultural organizations within modern society is undergoing seismic shifts.
As the field thusly evolves, Fuller Craft Museum considers its own collection and the 800+ works in its care. Developed by a team of guest and Fuller Craft Museum curators, the exhibition Under New Management: The Commodification of the Permanent Collection asks audiences to consider multiple lines of inquiry: What makes something precious or collectable? Who gets to assign value or worth? How do perceptions change when these items are presented as museum objects versus household commodities?
By its very nature, craft is integral to our everyday lives as functional objects that sustain us. So, what happens when these items become part of a museum collection, thereby treated as sanctified entities, stripped of practical utility? And what if the artworks are then reframed as retail products with the intent to (conceptually) reactivate their functionality? Unlike traditional museum exhibitions, Under New Management may leave visitors with more questions than answers, and that’s ok. After all, museums and their collections are meant to ignite our curiosity, challenge long-held norms, and stimulate new ways of looking at the world around us."
- Beth McLaughlin, Artistic Director and Chief Curator, Fuller Craft Museum
About Fuller Craft Museum
Fuller Craft Museum offers expansive opportunities to discover the world of contemporary craft. By exploring the leading edge of craft through exhibitions, collections, education, and public programs, we challenge perceptions and build appreciation of the material world. Our purpose is to inspire, stimulate, and enrich an ever-expanding community.
Fuller Craft Museum is located at 455 Oak Street in Brockton, Massachusetts. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00am-5:00pm. Please check the website for updates to our hours of admission. Admission is free for Brockton, MA residents and admission by donation for all guests, (suggested donation $12). For more information on Fuller Craft exhibitions and events, please visit www.fullercraft.org or call 508.588.6000.
Check-out our Digital Archive to learn about the objects in this exhibition and others in the Fuller Craft Museum's permanent collection.
Fuller Craft Museum, New England’s home for contemporary craft.
EXHIBITING ARTISTS FROM THIS COLLECTION:
Allen Katherine and William Bernstein
Christine M. Enos
Katharine S. Wood
Tamara Kostianovsky: Savage Legacy
March 13, 2021 - August 22, 2021
Michelle Samour: Mapping Borders and Boundaries
February 13, 2021 - September 19, 2021
American Clay: Modern Potters, Traditional Pots
January 30, 2021 - November 7, 2021
Particle & Wave: PaperClay Illuminated
December 19, 2020 - June 6, 2021
Makers and Mentors: The Art and Life of Snow Farm—The New England Craft School
November 28, 2020 - July 4, 2021
Elliott Kayser: Year of the Pig
January 15, 2020 - January 2, 2022
Tending the Fires: Recent Acquisitions in Clay
August 17, 2019 - April 4, 2021
Beyond the Walls: Sculptures from the New England Sculptors Association
May 15, 2021 - September 12, 2021
Another Crossing: Artists Revisit the Mayflower Voyage
July 3, 2021 - October 10, 2021
David Schnuckel: Meaningful Gibberish Project
September 11, 2021 - February 20, 2022