Swoon – Opening Day
Nov 10, 2023 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
It’s the Opening Day for the powerful and thought-provoking exhibition, Swoon, featuring the work of renowned contemporary artist Caledonia Curry/Swoon.
Curry, whose work appears under the name Swoon, is a Brooklyn-based artist widely known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art. Curry took to the streets of New York while attending the Pratt Institute of Art in 1999, pasting her intricate portraits to the sides of buildings with the goal of making art and the public space of the city more accessible.
Her art explores timely and complex issues, from personal and collective trauma to the power of art to heal and unite people during turbulent times. Striking, contemplative, and inspirational, her work is a powerful reminder of the potential for transformation that lies within us all.
In a moment when contemporary art often holds a conflicted relationship to beauty, Curry’s work carries with it an earnestness, treating the beautiful as sublime even as she explores the darker sides of her subjects. Her work has become known for marrying the whimsical to the grounded, often weaving in slivers of fairy-tales, scraps of myth, and a recurring motif of the sacred feminine. Tendrils of her own family history—and a legacy of her parents’ struggles with addiction and substance abuse—recur throughout her work.
While much of Curry’s art plays with the fantastical, there is also a strong element of realism. This can be seen in her myriad social endeavors, including a long-term community revitalization project in Braddock, Pennsylvania and her efforts to build earthquake-resistant homes in Haiti through Konbit Shelter. Her non-profit, the Heliotrope Foundation, was created in order to further support these ventures.
Today, Curry’s work can be found on the sides of buildings worldwide and has been given both permanent and transient homes in more classical institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Tate Modern, and the São Paulo Museum of Art.
The Taubman Museum of Art’s presentation of Swoon is a 20-year retrospective of the artist’s work, highlighting her journey from a street and installation artist to her most recent work as a filmmaker. With the support of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, Curry is using film animation to explore the boundaries of visual storytelling. One of her newest film projects will be spotlighted in the exhibition.
Complementing the exhibition will be several interactive elements in the galleries for visitors to draw, explore, meditate, and share their own stories through a community collage. Public art-making events with community partners such as the Roanoke Rescue Mission and other social service agencies will enable the Taubman Museum of Art to meet the community where they are and bring elements of the exhibition to those who may have barriers to visiting the Museum.
Swoon is organized and curated by the Taubman Museum of Art in collaboration with the Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe.
Exhibition and educational programming are generously supported in part by Carilion Clinic, Roanoke Arts Commission, Tom and Mary Evelyn Tielking, and Arkay, with additional support provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
George 1, 2016, block print, coffee stain, and gouache on mylar, 84 x 69 inches, courtesy of the artist and Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe
Miss Rockaway (Mirrored), 2016, cut paper on found object, 48 x 35 x 3 inches, courtesy of the artist and Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe
The Unstruck/7 Contemplations, 2020, wood, silkscreen, acrylic gouache, 44 x 44 x 2 inches, courtesy of the artist and Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe
Eidophone 111, 2022, cut paper and acrylic gouache on panel, 24 x 18.75 x 0.25 inches, courtesy of the artist and Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe