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New Faulconer exhibit now in-stock

By Lisa Oyolu
oyolulis17@grinnell.edu

Beginning this Friday, Faulconer Gallery will feature a new exhibit, entitled “Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles.” Curated by Emily Stamey ’01, the exhibition features various forms of contemporary art, including pop art, found art and video presentations.

Using Andy Warhol’s pop art as a starting point, Stamey compiled various artworks, which include charts of lost grocery carts and interpretations of personality based on grocery shopping lists. Irrespective of their medium, each of the pieces of art individually and collectively examines issues of poverty, social justice, food access and security, nutrition and the components of food.

According to Faulconer Gallery director Lesley Wright, “there is no normal” when it comes to selecting shows for Faulconer exhibits. Two years ago, Stamey, a Grinnell alumna, approached Wright to gauge interest for the “Stocked” show. Wright was excited about the prospect of bringing the exhibition to Faulconer because of the artists whose work would be displayed, as well as the theme of the artwork.

“There is such an interest on campus in issues around food that a show about grocery stores, our patterns … and how we shop all seemed to be pretty relevant to cultural studies,” Wright said.

Stamey’s multi-faceted interests in art and food are what ultimately pushed her to put the show together.

“I’m interested in food, personally. I love to cook, I’m a nutrition junkie and I like to read all the articles about food. With that personal side impacting me, some scholarly side [started] thinking about what pop art about food would look like today,” Stamey said.

Stamey’s artistic process began by creating physical and digital files with similar artworks she found on postcards and museum flyers, then started looking for others. Stamey believes the exhibit she has put together is very accessible.

“First and foremost, it is about objects that are interesting to look at. Most of them have a pretty good sense of humor about them. Even if some of the artwork is challenging to visitors … everybody understands it. They’ve got that shared ground experience, which is what the show is based on, so that makes it approachable in a unique way,” she said.

Because the show uses humor and is based on an experience that is relatable for most people, it allows the exhibit’s visitors to personally engage with the artwork. The art is presented in a way which allows visitors, regardless of age, to enjoy the experience by reminiscing on grocery shopping in past eras and interacting with some of the technological aspects of the show.

“Most people get a first and a second look with most of the works,” Stamey said.

Despite the shared theme of the art, there is still diversity among the pieces.

“It is very intentional that all of the artwork does not look the same,” Stamey said. “There are a lot of different styles and a lot of different mediums. They don’t all address the same kinds of issues. It’s not all about the environmental impact of grocery shopping or about the anthropology of who we are as shoppers. It’s not all about nutrition. It’s a little bit about all of those things.”

 

Upcoming “Stocked” exhibit events:

Curator’s Introduction and Gallery Tour of “Stocked”: Emily Stamey ‘01 — Friday, Sept. 20 at 4:15 p.m.

Opening Reception: “Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles” — Friday, Sept. 20 at 5:15-6:30 p.m.

Panel: “Food Security” — Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 4:15 p.m.

Gallery Talk: “Full House: Pop Art, Domesticity, and Consumer Culture” — Thursday, Sept. 26 at 4:15 p.m.

A few elements of the “Stocked” exhibit. Photo by John Brady.
A few elements of the “Stocked” exhibit. Photo by John Brady.
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