This art isn't in the mainstream locations, but these shows shouldn't be missed

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It’s not completely accurate to refer to the artists who are featured in these two intriguing exhibits as outsiders. In some ways, in fact, they’re the ultimate insiders – art educators, architects, installers who shape nearly every aspect of the way exhibitions are presented to us. 

Perhaps “unrecognized” might be a better word. Or “overlooked.” Or “unseen.” 

“Invisible” is the word they opted for at Camp Washington’s Wave Pool Gallery. The gallery is, both by location and philosophy, a place that is outside the art world mainstream. So, it’s probably fitting that “Invisible Labor” takes place there.  

The idea is simple. Rather than focus the exhibition on people who we might traditionally call “artists,” curator Maria Seda-Reeder and gallery executive director Cal Cullen built a show around the behind-the-scenes people who install shows. 

They go by many names; installers, preparators, art handlers. But in the end, they are the people who do all the things we don’t see when we attend a gallery opening. They move the art, they uncrate it, they hang it on the wall or position it on the gallery floor. They make sure a wall-hanging is straight. Or not straight, if that’s the point. They adjust lighting.

In many cases, they create art themselves. But not until they make sure everyone else’s work is displayed just so. They are, in many regards, the unsung heroes of the art world. 

“Part of what Wave Pool does well is to uplift the little guys and share the spotlight with artists who are often times the center of attention,” says Seda-Reeder. “We thought this was an interesting way to get at that.” 

So, while some aspects of the exhibit resemble a hardware display, there is a wonderful artistry in the way that the materials are displayed. Sometimes, it takes a conceptual approach.

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