The Ceremonial Act / BCVA 13
May 2013

Curated by Samuel Draxler at the McCagg Gallery, Barnard College, New York

The Ceremonial Act / BCVA 13

“Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there... One needs special times and places, exclusive meetings; the words alone are not enough, and we need a whole series of signs with many meanings, which is to say a rite.” —Italo Calvino, Cybernetics and Ghosts

The origin of a thesis show is not in works, but rather working. It is not a thematic concept that binds and energizes these divergent artworks, but the formative educational process shared by all the artists. It is the communal experience of a unified program: the structured art historical course load, idolized professors, and late nights in shared studios. The thesis is not a production of artworks, but a production of artists.

The visual arts concentrators are a small community in a complicated relationship with the university. With the validity of arts practice as a field of study constantly in question, many of the students see the program as uniquely distinct – as the black sheep of the college. This bureaucratic tension surrounds the arts program, as does the students’ position within a women’s college at a larger university. From this common environment of both tradition and regulation come works that mirror these ritualistic processes. Many of the works reproduce concerns with the indoctrination and performance of culture, attempting to express that which exists both within and beyond these ceremonies.

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