URI’s Main Gallery is pleased to present Pardon Our Appearance, a group show featuring artists Oscar Bedford, Nick Fagan, Bradley Milligan, and Anthony Montuori. These artists all have worked or are currently working in the unglamorous behind-the-scenes jobs of the art world: moving artwork, installing shows, and building crates, among many others. This experience makes these artists incisive and no-nonsense voices on the contradictions and artifice involved in exhibiting art.
The work in Pardon Our Appearance investigates the tense relationship between art as a pure impulse for expression and art as an extremely useful arm of global capitalism, and whose luxury status is created by an army of badly paid and poorly protected labor. The artists share an interest in craft, the status and lifecycle of the discrete “art object”, and the lifestyle of the blue collar jobs of the art world in all their humor and poetry. Their work foregrounds the hidden aesthetics in the unglamorous work that goes into making something art.
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Anthony Montuori contributes a series of absurdist games housed in meticulously constructed cabinets. Oscar Bedford exhibits painstakingly crafted and mostly fully functional oversized tools of the trade. Nick Fagan shows a group of tapestries made out of moving blankets. Bradley Milligan focuses on craft traditions in his poetic mixed-media pieces, which explore Milligan’s personal background and history as a carpenter.
The Main Gallery at the University of Rhode Island is located in the Fine Arts Center and is a project of the Department of Art and Art History. The gallery is open Monday–Thursday, 12–4 pm. Follow them on Instagram via @urimaingallery to learn more about upcoming shows, events, and special hours.