Crafted Strangers 

September 16, 2017 @ 11:00 am
Crafted Strangers will be on view at CCCD’s Benchspace Gallery & Workshop between September 15, 2017, and January 6, 2018. The exhibition is curated by the emerging curatorial collective Matters Unsettled, a partnership between Cass Gardiner and Quizayra Gonzalez. Gardiner and Gonzalez received a 2017 Curatorial Fellowship from CCCD, which funded the planning and execution of the exhibition while providing the curators a platform and professional development. Crafted Strangers is the third and final Curatorial Fellowship exhibition to be mounted this year, following Tie Up, Draw Down and The Good Making of Good Things: Craft Horizons Magazine 1941-1979.

 Jaret Vadera, No Country, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.
“I take pride in the fact that CCCD offers a space to display some of the best, most forward-thinking examples of craft in North America,” says CCCD Executive Director Stephanie Moore. The contemporary art world can often feel exclusive, making it difficult for emerging artists and arts administrators to challenge longstanding practices. By offering Benchspace Gallery & Workshop to curators like Matters Unsettled, Gonzalez explains CCCD is “actively making space for artists and curators from all backgrounds in an effort to change the art world’s rigid landscape.”
Gonzalez is a Dominican American artist and curator who holds an MA from Parsons and a BFA from the University of the Arts. Gardiner is an indigenous artist and curator who holds an MFA from Ryerson University and an Honors BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Together, Gonzalez and Gardiner seek to create exhibitions that serve as forums for cultural research and experimentation.
“From ceramic sculptures made from clothes left at the US-Mexican border to trading cards that position Indigenous women as superheroes, Crafted Strangers is a timely exhibition that brings an array of stories that challenge mainstream representations of Immigrant and Indigenous people,” explains the curators, Gonzalez and Gardiner.

 Joiri Minaya, #dominicanwomengooglesearch, 2016. Photo: Stefan Hagen.
The seventeen artists selected offer a diverse array of cultural perspectives and studio practices-though many are reinventing traditional craft practices on their own terms.  For example, the exhibition opens with a life-size mobile by the Dominican-American artist Joiri Minaya, featuring images drawn from the Google search: “Dominican Women”. Visitors will be able to walk among the swirling, cropped, and floating larger-than-life cut-outs and reflect on the creation and destabilization of social stereotypes in this graphic and colorful installation.
In support of Crafted Strangers, CCCD is presenting several programs that help further the conversation around identity, belonging, and shifting borders. During the opening reception, curators Gonzalez and Gardiner will offer brief remarks. On October 13, 2017, CCCD will assemble artists and thinkers for a “Trans– Across, Beyond, Through” panel, the 2017 Windgate Research and Collections Curator Lecture, to unpack this loaded, and powerful, prefix. Visitors can also build community during the “Craft with a Stranger” experimental collaborations and showcase (Saturday, October 28) or the “Recipe Exchange and Short Film Festival” (Thursday, November 2).
Art serves as an important catalyst for conversation, and the pieces in Crafted Strangers will invite visitors to consider current national and international events in a new light.

The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) is located at 67 Broadway Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801.

Opening Hours: Tue – Sat, 10 – 6.

Admission free and open to the public.

Questions of immigration, citizenship, belonging, and identity are more pressing and complicated now than ever. Using a variety of mediums, seventeen established and emerging artists from across the United States and Canada will exhibit work that problematizes identity stereotypes and opens up new notions of the self at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) this September.