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THE MUSEUM OF LOVE AND DEVOTION

The Fairview Museum of History and Art
Fairview, Utah
Organized by Lazaros
December 13, 2014 - April 11, 2015

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THE MUSEUM OF LOVE AND DEVOTION


Contributors from outside the collection:

Wulf Barsch, Adam Bateman, Hannah Bounaguro, Tanya Brodsky, Geoffrey Clements, CLUI Photo Archive, Bill Conger, Chris Coy, Jim Drain, Andre Eugene, Eureka City Council, Ryan Foerster, Leah Gordon, Rashawn Griffin, Stephen Groo, Michael Handley, Mike Hansen, Trent Harris, Davey Hawkins, Micol Hebron, Robert Janitz, Amy Jorgensen, Natalie Labriola, Tim Lokiec, Jason Bailer Losh, Allan Ludwig, Pooneh Maghazehe, Servanne Mary, David Matorin, Marjorie Mcclure, Collection of Aaron Moulton, Asger Kali Mason Ravnkilde Moulton, Conrad Nebeker, Ryan Neely, Colin Nesbit, Pablo Picasso, Corky Ra, Larry Roberts and Diane Orr, Guy Rusha, Pascual Sisto, Daniel Small, Harry Smith, Byron Stout, Michael Thibault, Roland Thompson, Unknown, Morganne Wakefield, Lindsey Winkel, Bree Zucker

From within the collection:

Dorothy Anderson, George Edward Anderson, Mckay Anderson, Anonymous, Allan Beck, Max Blain, Leroy Budvarson, Brian Christensen, Larry Christensen, Harold Christiansen, Thomas Edison, Avard Fairbanks, Lyndon Graham, Maitlind Graham, H.W.C., Aden V. Johnson, Debra Kent, Tena Koeven, Leo Krikorian, Lynn Mills, Kenneth Mitchell, Bob Moss, G. Glade Peterson, North Sanpete High School, Relief Society of Spring City, Heber Stanfield, Edmund Amasa Tucker, Unknown, Herald Vance

I wish I was a little rock
A sittin' on a hill.
Not a doin' anything
But just a sittin' still.
I wouldn't eat, I wouldn't sleep,
I wouldn't even wash!
I'd just sit there a thousand years
And never move—by gosh!


Charles Clark, Saga of the Sanpitch, Vol. 16, 1984

The Fairview Museum of History and Art holds the largest collection of folk objects in the Mountain West. Its heritage wing, The Museum of Love and Devotion, is housed in a fin de siècle stone schoolhouse, situated on the institution’s property in Fairview, Utah. The expansive archive includes objects of historical significance, geologic and biologic specimens, and artwork, as well as other unclassifiable items, all of which have origins in the surrounding Sanpitch Valley.

The museum’s loose and additive approach to its collection of cultural artifacts offers the visitor dense displays and curious tableaus. Where provenance is unknown, a story is told instead. This exhibition examines the boundaries of the museum’s archive - which at first appear unlimited - through inserting specific objects by artists and makers from within and without the region amongst the collection and site as a whole. The resulting camouflage of material mimics the culture and concerns of the museum in ways both subliminal and accretive. These visual mutations prove natural to the location’s archival impulse, categorical anachronisms, oral histories and lost provenances.

As a framing device, the collection provides a fertile ground for appreciating out-of-place artifacts. Inserted into a tableau of incongruous fashions and technologies, Jim Drain’s futurepop sweater and handkerchief adorn their mannequins with eccentric air. Tanya Brodsky co-opts a selection of her parent’s tools of bricolage design, once used during Soviet food shortages in the Ukraine. She presents them here cast in soap, chocolate and wax, set within the museum’s array of devices for needs both apparent and forgotten. Functioning as a beacon, the tabletop sculpture of discrete abstract forms by Jason Bailer Losh transforms its surrounding of portraits and decorative arts into a cultural white noise.

The proxy values created through the exhibition’s more subliminal displays are evident where one discovers the Utah Teapot, a cornerstone achievement and reference point of virtual reality, nestled among teapots of Utah, as a fountain amongst urinals. Adam Bateman’s balletic helix of agricultural implements blends in gracefully with its neighboring antique threshers. Absorbing light, debris and details from its continual development, Ryan Foerster’s cameraless photograph bears alchemical witness to the basement’s ghosts.

Offering a fantasy of folklore, this exhibition explores a museum investigating the adaptability of memory, an uncanny valley where stories and objects are rendered in clay, and the accidental becomes methodical and vice versa. The Museum of Love and Devotion’s collection, a cultural orphanage of local wares and artifacts, magnetically assimilates these new additions like welcomed scraps sewn into a community quilt. As a new chapter it enacts a continuity of the museum’s mission -- a faithful and recursive maintenance of the structure as time capsule, eyewitness and storyteller. A stone, unmoved atop a hill for a thousand years, becomes a specter for history, time and entropy.

Text by Aaron Moulton




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J.J.J.