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Kari Marboe: Duplicating Daniel

Not on view
1/22/2020 - 3/16/2020
Organizing institution: Mills College Art Museum

Duplicating Daniel is a visual inquiry by artist, archivist, and sleuth, Kari Marboe. An artwork by ceramicist and textbook author Daniel Rhodes has vanished from MCAM’s permanent collection. Pursuing a web of living and archival leads, Kari Marboe attempts to recreate the lost sculpture from research data, artist interviews, an antique photocopy, and an accession number. The exhibition plays with the history of ceramics; the act of translation; and the imbedded failure of trying to make, or be, an exact copy of something else.

Mills College Art Museum has the largest permanent art collection of any liberal arts college on the West Coast, with records for over 13,000 objects in its storage facilities. In a file card box labeled, “Lost, Stolen, Deaccessioned” the Rhodes sculpture is listed as ‘missing’; the museum is unsure of the circumstances of its disappearance. The only trace of this sculpture is its accession date (1975, gift of the artist) and a murky black & white Xerox of a photo of the sculpture. Rhodes is the author of Clay and Glazes for the Potter, a highly relied upon textbook found on the bookshelves of most ceramics classes. Rhodes taught ceramics at Alfred University for 25 years and published six books on technical ceramics. Considering his contributions to the field, Marboe thought it only right to try to reproduce the sculpture for the collection.

As a result of her efforts, Marboe has amassed a growing collection of ‘replicas’ of Daniel Rhodes’ sculpture manifest as hand built objects, 3-D printed models, color studies, written accounts, and other renditions. Due to the embedded failure in approximation, interpretation, and the hand of a maker, we cannot be sure which of these new sculptures is the truest copy of Daniel’s work.

Marboe will continue to replicate the original sculpture until the Director and staff of Mills College Art Museum agree that one version is convincing enough to be placed back into the permanent collection. Marboe foresees that the story of the duplicate will also be lost and misremembered until eventually everyone believes the stand-in to be the original object documented in the black and white photocopy. When this missing link is replaced, Duplicating Daniel will be complete.

This project is supported by Mills College Art Museum and the Department of Museum Records & Research, which has collaborated with Marboe and provided access to archival information about this particular Daniel Rhodes sculpture. A detailed record of Marboe’s process and contribution to the collection will be preserved in the Museum Records & Research archives and object files.

Kari Marboe: Duplicating Daniel is supported through the generosity of the Agnes Cowles Bourne Fund for Special Exhibitions.

Kari Marboe is a Bay Area artist and Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA. She holds a MFA from the University of California, Berkeley and a BFA from California College of the Arts. Marboe’s research-based, ceramic works have been presented at 500 Capp Street/Southern Exposure, CA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, CA, The Museum of Craft and Design, CA, Wave Pool Gallery, OH, The Museum of Northern California Art, CA, Jacksonville University, FL, and the Waffle Shop Billboard, PA.

Opening Reception
Saturday, January 25, 5-7pm Art Museum

Artist Talk: Kari Marboe
Wednesday, February 26, 7pm Mills College, Danforth Lecture Hall

Exhibition Objects (5)

Exhibition Images (19)

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