But if the Crime is Beautiful… is Lauren Kalman’s response to the architect Adolf Loos’ 1910 lecture Ornament and Crime, in which he proposes that ornament is regressive, primitive and that, in (his) contemporary society, only criminals and degenerates—a class which included women—are decorated. Loos helped to define the principals of the male-dominated Modernist design movement, its aesthetic, and its utopian values of minimalism and functionality. Decades later, Modernist constructions, furniture, and objects permeate our contemporary environments and remain coveted icons of status. In her ongoing series of photographs, objects, and sculptures, Kalman forces us to consider Loos’ maxim. Using her own body, she confronts us with living sculptures of the female form juxtaposed with gilded ornaments, intricately crafted hoods and masks, and select pieces of Modernist furniture. Kalman fills the gap between celebration and shame, pornography and preciousness, asking if ornamentation can reclaim power from the male gaze and used to empower women.
LAUREN KALMAN is a visual artist whose practice is invested in contemporary craft, video, photography and performance. Through her work she investigates beauty, adornment, body image, and the built environment. Raised in the Midwest, Kalman completed her MFA in Art and Technology from the Ohio State University and earned a BFA with a focus in Metals from the Massachusetts College of Art. Her work had been featured in exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Museum of Arts and Design, Cranbrook Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Mint Museum, and deCordova Museum, and the World Art Museum in Beijing, among others. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art. She has been awarded residencies at the Bemis Center, the Australian National University, the Corporation of Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Santa Fe Art Institute. She has received Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Puffin Foundation West and ISE Cultural Foundation Emerging Curator grants. The Frost Museum in Miami is featuring her work in Pierce, Mark, Morph through February 2017 and her solo exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City runs from October 2016 – March 2017.
MALLORY WESTON is an artist currently living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Her work involves a marriage between traditional jewelry techniques and textile techniques and she creates large-scale wearable pieces that allow metal to move with the fluidity of fabric. Her most current body of work, to premier at PULSE Miami in 2016 includes larger non-wearable objects. She recently received her MFA in Jewelry + Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 2013. In addition to her studio practice, she works as a professor of Jewelry and Metals at several Philadelphia area colleges and universities. She maintains an active exhibition schedule, participating in group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. In the spring of 2016 she was selected as an artist in residence with the Artist Studios program at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the CODA Museum in the Netherlands.
PULSE Art Fair’s signature PROJECTS program is committed to the presentation and promotion of audience-engaging large-scale sculptures, installations and performances. We are excited to announce that this year Amelia Toelke’s Dragon Fruit has been selected.
Dragon fruit is a wild looking food grown throughout Southeast Asia. It is the fruit of a particular species of cactus and has a thick magenta skin with flame-like unfurling petals that makes it look completely foreboding and inedible. When you cut it open an even more intense fuchsia pulp lies inside. You would expect that all this show would lead to the most delicious, sweet flesh but instead, the flavor is mild, even tasteless. As with the fruit, Dragonfruit is all show. Inspired by the artist’s two years living abroad in Northern Thailand, Dragonfruit echos the rich and lustrous surfaces that ornament Thai Buddhist temples and integrates the history of adornment, decoration, and material culture. Dragonfruit presents the shapes and symbols of signage and badges but reveals only a shiny reflection that saturates the space with light and color. Despite visual cues that indicate information, celebration, and commemoration, you are left with just yourself and your image.
Born in Chatham New York in 1983, AMELIA TOELKE’s work is a combination of sculpture and installation touching on the intersection of the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional. Toelke’s interest in collaboration and public art guides much of her practice, with recent projects for the Wisconsin Percent for Art Program, the city of Evansville, Indiana and a 2016 site specific work in The Republic of Georgia’s Artisterium project. During the summer of 2015 Toelke was selected as an artist in residence at Lanzhou City University in Lanzhou, China, and in 2016 she was an artist in residence at the Brush Creek Center for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming. With a BFA in metals from the State University of New York at New Paltz and an MFA in visual art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Toelke has exhibited nationally and internationally.