The LSU Museum of Art (LSU MOA) is honored and pleased to announce it has received awards in the 2022 Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) Exhibition and Publication Competitions. This annual competition is open to museums in the southeastern region to submit exhibition and publication projects for review of merit. In the 2022 exhibition competition, The Boneyard: The Ceramics Teaching Collection was selected for the Bronze Award in the Under $25,000 budget category. The exhibition was co-curated by Andy Shaw, LSU associate professor of art/ceramics; Courtney Taylor, (former LSU MOA Curator and Director of Programs) currently Doctor of Design candidate and LSU College of Art & Design graduate assistant/Boyce Gallery coordinator; and Grant Benoit, former LSU MOA Educator and Manager of Public Programs.
Inspired by the visiting artist tradition, The Boneyard: The Ceramics Teaching Collection presented the energy and legacy of ceramics demonstrations through bisqueware. Included in this exhibition were over 200 bisque works that provide a valued resource for LSU School of Art’s top-ten ranked ceramics program. The ever-growing collection was displayed at LSU MOA to imitate the classroom use of the boneyard. The “boneyard” refers to the unique display on bisque works on high shelves in the studio, showcasing a variety of techniques, improvisation, and skill. Faculty and instructors pull bisque objects from the shelves in order to highlight specific techniques and attributes of form. This exhibition also featured rotating displays and a demonstration space activated by MFA students, local artists, and visiting artists allowing museum visitors to share in the boneyard tradition—to watch clay transform and to see artist-specific techniques shared in the openness of the craft tradition.
“Co-curating this exhibition with Andy and Grant was not only enjoyable, but incredibly rewarding,” Taylor said. “The collaboration between LSU MOA and the School of Art was a model experience curatorially, but also in terms of exhibition preparation and public programming. The exhibit featured LSU School of Art collections, was co-curated by a faculty member, and translated studio teaching methods into the gallery. There were also less-obvious collaborations that were integral to the project: current and former LSU student ceramicists facilitated public programs and the exhibition furniture was fabricated in LSU College of Art & Design’s Design Shops by students. The collaboration bolstered experimentation and engagement that expanded my own curatorial practice—and hopefully offered a model for deeper museum-college collaborations in the future.”
The Boneyard: The Ceramics Teaching Collection was a collaboration between the LSU MOA and the LSU School of Art. Previous partnerships between the School of Art and the LSU MOA inspired the proposal to highlight the ceramics bisque collection, “the boneyard” through a public exhibition. The resulting exhibition and the programming surrounding the exhibition were the result of an engaging and productive collaboration among the curators Taylor, Benoit, and Shaw.
The educational focus of The Boneyard and the inclusion of a studio space within the galleries of LSU MOA is reflective of the innovative visions at the museum, Shaw said. Through the studio space, audience members witnessed artists making works that would eventually be added into the collection. Audience members and demonstrating artists shared conversations about process and inspiration, benefitting both LSU art students and community members.
Watch a visiting artist share her process:
Taylor and co-authors Benoit and Shaw are publishing a chapter in the forthcoming book Dimensions of Curation: Considering Competing Values for Intentional Exhibition Practices, to be published by the American Alliance of Museums, applying the “Dimensions of Curation Competing Values Exhibition Model” using this exhibition as a case study.