How to remove 12,000 pounds of clay from an art gallery?

August 12, 8:06 AMDC Museum ExaminerLiz Geltman

What do you do with 12,000 pounds of clay when it is no longer needed as part of a museum exhibit? Margaret Boozer and the staff of the The American University Katzen and Arts Center will face this precise question shortly with the closing of the gallery installation Dirt Drawings on August 16, 2009.

12,000 pounds is a lot of clay even for the most active ceramics or dirt artist. Boozer explained that the clay is more than she can use in her projects or to store in her studio. Boozer suggested a creative solution that she calls Reverse Disperse: the Dirt Works Project. In Boozer’s proposed project, she will give the clay used in Dirt Drawings away to a variety ceramic artists. Reverse Disperse is an invitation only museum event. The invited artists are instructed to use the de-installed clay and then The American University Katzen and Arts Center will display what the artists had collectively and individually done with the clay about one year later.

Boozer hopes that the closing party for Dirt Drawings will be as unique as the original installation. In a telephone interview, Boozer explained that she has had about 40 ceramic artists confirm that they will participate in the unique de-installation project. Boozer invited an unusual range of artists. Some include-es are currently serving as artists in residents at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. Boozer stated that Mary Barringer, editor of The Studio Potter magazine, also agreed to participate if Boozer sent her some clay. Other artists are ceramic hobbyists, including a retired woman Boozer met at the Dirt Drawings museum exhibit .

Dirt Drawings is on view through August 16, 2009. There is no date yet set for Reverse Disperse: the Dirt Works Project . The American University Katzen and Arts Center is located at 4400 Massachusetts Ave, Washington, DC 20016-8012. The Katzen Arts Center is open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday and 1 hour before Katzen Events.


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