Extreme Materials 2 Introduction

Extreme Materials 2


I would venture to warn against too great intimacy with artists as it is very seductive and a little dangerous.
Queen Victoria

In a single sentence, Queen Victoria unwittingly sums up why I love my job. Every day, I work with these seductive and dangerous people, these renegades, these artists. For nearly 30 years, the University of Rochester has sent me a check at the end of the month for seeking them out, for visiting their studios, for studying their work, for engaging them in conversation about it.

And what do I get from the artists? The same gift that all of us receive from them: proof that the world is a magical place, that there is more to it than meets the eye. We need artists, the rest of us do, to prime the pump of our imagination, to show us that plastic soup spoons can be the stuff from which a small universe is created, that bugs and bones and rust and discarded soda bottles can be beautiful.

It has been my true pleasure to bring these works of art together for your enjoyment and inspiration, and so many people have helped me do it. In particular, I want to thank our museum’s director, Grant Holcomb, for his confidence in me; Marlene Hamann-Whitmore, curator of education, for being my partner in crime; the members of MAG’s exhibitions department—Dan Knerr, Chiyo Ueyama, Ann Kuebel and John King—for turning an idea into an exhibition; our generous underwriters, M&T Bank, MVP Health Care, the Gallery Council of the Memorial Art Gallery and an anonymous donor; and last but certainly not least, the many artists, collectors, and dealers who allowed us to bring these artworks to Rochester.

Marie Via
Director of Exhibitions