Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia Art
by Ann Erskine
Joyce Scott: Kickin' It with the Old Masters at the Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art is currently featuring an exhibit of artwork by the artist Joyce Scott. Joyce has been a teaching and exhibiting artist in schools and museums nationally, and especially in her hometown of Baltimore, for the past thirty years. This exhibit is a unique collaboration between the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The curator, George Ciscle, from MICA teaches a three-semester course, "The Curatorial Experience," and his students received practical training by designing this exhibit.
Joyce is a fiber artist, jeweler, sculptor, printmaker and performance and installation artist. The exhibit features her paintings, quilts, clothing designs, beaded jewelry and sculpture, glasswork, prints and assemblages. She creates art based on statements about racism, sexuality, violence and stereotypes. Because some of her work is controversial, the exhibit features an Activity Center to assist viewers in addressing the sensitive issues raised by her work and to allow young visitors to experience firsthand the artistic techniques that Scott employs (beading, weaving, etc.).
Joyce has traveled extensively and has collected beading and fiber techniques from all over the world. Spanish Saint ( above right) is a necklace created from beads and mixed media using materials and techniques she gained from the American Southwest, Central America, South America and Europe. Nuclear Nanny (left) is a mola created from a technique that Joyce learned from the Cuna Indians from the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. This piece is also a statement of her concern with the possibility of nuclear holocaust which would destroy ourselves, our planet and future generations.
Joyce uses her positon as an artist to expose the stereotypes that people of all races unthinkingly accept. Rather than preach, she uses humor, and "as she makes you laugh, she makes you squirm." Man Eating Watermelon (right) is an eight inch tall beaded sculpture featuring a slice of watermelon clamping down on the leg of a small brown man who is "trapped" in a racially-charged stereotype. Describing herself, Joyce says, "I'm a cesspool of stereotypes-I'm loud, I've got kinky hair, I'm gap-toothed, I drink, I cuss, I'm black, and I'm fat."
Joyce's work will remain on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art until May 21, 2000.
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