Castleman Curates Show at Spoke
Professor Dayton Castleman recently co-curated a unique and highly successful exhibit at Spoke, a gallery in the west loop of downtown Chicago. With grad school friend, Matthew Dupont, Castleman put together an atypical display of piñatas, crafted by well-known artists from New York to Los Angeles and two of Trinity’s own students. The exhibit, Objet Petit A, ran for two weeks before the “smashing” culmination of the exhibit on Friday night, September 11.
Hundreds of visitors flooded the gallery, during which a silent auction was conducted for the piñatas. Those who purchased the piñatas were then invited to smash them in an outdoor spectacle. Proceeds of the auction went to Spoke and the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project.
The idea for the exhibit was born after Castleman assigned his students to create piñatas to help them recognize “the work of art beyond its physical form.” But the art was not only in the creating of the piñatas but also in smashing them.
“Destroying the piñatas helps us understand why it looks the way it does,” said Castleman. “It is a different work of art depending on what comes out of it. If the piñata isn’t broken, its true beauty is never fully revealed.”
This was Castleman’s first show in which Trinity students were participants. Abby Christensen ’11 of Nampa, Idaho, and Emily Vanhoff ’11 of Holland, Michigan, collaborated on an untitled piñata to donate to the exhibit. Their piece was bought by alumna Rosalynn Mathews ’08.
“We built our original piñata intentionally to look store bought, but we filled it with all of the materials necessary to reconstruct it after being smashed--flour, newspaper strips, tissue paper squares,” said Christensen. “To communicate the idea that the piñata could essentially be eternal, we smashed our piñata and repaired it before displaying it in the show.”
Said Vanhoff, “It was encouraging and exciting to see the involvement the Trinity faculty and students had in the biggest downtown opening of the year. Rowley Kennerk's gallery had an opening, Dayton curated this show, and there was a large representation of Trinity students and alumni at the openings.”
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