Broadcast from the Secretary of the Interior, video still.

Opening Reception: The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs

September 7, 2018
Des Lee Gallery, 1627 Washington Ave.

The Des Lee Gallery presents The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs September 7-22, a collaborative installation by Stephanie Schlaifer (BFA99/BA99) and Cheryl Wassenaar, associate professor. The opening reception will take place on Sept. 7 from 6-8p. A reading and artists' talk will be held Sept. 20 at 6:30p.

The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs is an immersive, multimedia installation that explores the bureaucracy of the mind—the set of distinct inner voices that contribute to decision-making and our way of experiencing the world. Merging sculpture, sound, video, text, and design, the installation is based on a series of Schlaifer’s poems that address the events of the day—whether personal or political—through various Ministers of the Interior, including Reason, Self-Preservation, Desire, Unconsciousness, Indulgences, Confrontations, and many others.

This is Schlaifer & Wassenaar’s third collaboration. Their previous exhibitions include Re/Collect at the Sheldon Art Gallery and Cleavemark Drive at the fort gondo compound for the arts, which was based on Schlaifer’s first full-length poetry collection, Cleavemark (BOAAT, 2016). While each maintains her own hybrid practice, Schlaifer as a poet and installation artist, and Wassenaar whose work merges painting, design, color theory, and sculpture, their collaboration began out of our shared obsession with language as material. Working primarily with Schlaifer’s poetry as narrative context, their collaborative work explores the function and possibility of language. Text appears as large-scale vinyl lettering on walls, or embedded in in cast objects, working with the idea of poems in space. Combining conventional and experimental source materials and technologies, we strive to hybrid environments that push the boundaries of art and writing.

Schlaifer and Wassenaar were among a select group of artists to receive an Artistic Innovations grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance to support this exhibition and programming. Funding for Wassenaar and Schlaifer’s M-AAA’s grant is drawn from generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts, Missouri Arts Council, and foundations, corporations, and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Elements of the work were created in collaboration with Zoe Grieze (BFA18), senior lecturer Jon Navy, and Bryce Robinson (MFA11).

Read more about the exhibition in this article>>