The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) presents two events in connection with “(de)composed,” an exhibit of realistic sculptures by Judith Klausner depicting “ruined” items like moldy bread, a sprouted potato, and a blob of jam surrounded by ants. On Friday, December 9, Klausner will discuss the exhibit with its curator, BMAC Director of Exhibitions Sarah Freeman. On Saturday, December 10, Klausner will present a workshop on repairing moth holes in sweaters using moth-shaped patches.
“Often when something has ‘gone bad,’ it gives rise to something new, but it can be hard to appreciate new growth in the shadow of our disappointment,” Klausner writes in a statement accompanying the exhibit. “I like the idea of spending hours meticulously crafting something that most people think of as ruined.”
During their conversation at BMAC on Friday, December 9, at 7 p.m., Klausner and Freeman will discuss the exhibit “(de)composed,” its themes, and Klausner’s use of non-traditional materials. The in-person talk is free and open to the public. Space is limited. Register at brattleboromuseum.org or 802-257-0124 x101.
“This work reflects my own journey to reframe my life as a disabled person,” Klausner said in her exhibition statement. “It has only been by readjusting my lens that I have learned to appreciate the life I have. The past 2+ years of pandemic have derailed what many people expected from their lives. We have all had to reframe our expectations and our sources of joy. I hope this work can reflect those experiences, too, and help encourage the (sometimes painful) growth it takes to make that shift.”
In a recent interview for BMAC’s blog, Art Loves Company, Klausner described the process she used to make “Sweet on You,” a sculpture that depicts yellow jackets on a melting popsicle. The piece was made from materials not commonly associated with fine art, including polymer clay and cellophane envelope windows from junk mail.
Klausner used the clay to craft the hyperrealistic popsicle and popsicle stick. “I made a rule for the series that I couldn’t make anything out of itself,” Klausner said. “I went to my bin of classic craft materials, pulled out a popsicle stick, and realized, ‘No, I’m not allowed to do this!’ I spent a lot more time reflecting on popsicle sticks than I ever had before–the texture, the color, the sheen, the way the wood is really soft. I made a bunch of experimental popsicle sticks, and I would occasionally show my friends and say, ‘Okay, tell me—which one is the real one?’”
On Saturday, December 10, at 2 p.m, Klausner will present a workshop on using needle-felted moth patches to repair moth holes in sweaters. The Moth-Mending Workshop is for adults and children 10 and up. Children must have the supervision of a guardian. Admission is $50 ($45 for BMAC members). Mending materials will be provided; bring your own sweater. Space is limited for this in-person event. Register at brattleboromuseum.org or 802-257-0124 x101.
“Much as the Japanese art of kintsugi mends pottery by highlighting the cracks, this approach to mending acknowledges and celebrates the journey of the sweater and its role in our complex relationship with the world around us,” Klausner explained.
Klausner is a Somerville, Massachusetts, artist with a love for small, intricate, and overlooked things. She received her degree in studio art from Wesleyan University in 2007 after constructing her thesis primarily out of insects, and she has since continued to search the details of her surroundings for inspiration. Her experience of invisible disability and chronic pain plays an integral role in how she views the world and creates art. Her work has been featured in Harper’s, Reader’s Digest, the Huffington Post, and NPR, and exhibited in venues internationally, including the Susquehanna Art Museum, Museum of Natural History, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, and the Boston Children’s Museum.
The exhibit “(de)composed” is on view at BMAC through March 4, 2023.
About Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10-4. Admission is on a “pay-as-you-wish” basis. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.
BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Four Columns Inn, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.