The Gibbes Museum of Art
will present the new exhibition Prop Master: An Installation by Juan Logan and Susan Harbage Page in the Main Gallery from April 3 through July 19, 2009. This site-specific, large-scale installation created exclusively for the Gibbes, draws materials from the museum’s permanent collection of portraits, landscape paintings, and archival materials, begun over 150 years ago. Artists Susan Harbage Page and Juan Logan juxtapose art objects drawn from the Gibbes’ collection and decorative art objects from local public and private collections, with works of their own creation, to investigate the role of the institution of the museum as both a prop master and a prop with regard to race, class, and gender relations in Charleston society.
As the person who acquires and manufactures props for theatrical productions, the prop master is responsible for all aspects of their use on a set. Drawing a comparison between the prop master and the museum and a production and an exhibition, Logan and Page reveal how the elements of a collection are props and the museum a prop master. Made up of such components as Sexually Ambiguous, Background Material, and Famous Last Names, this exhibition critiques portraiture as a prop and support for a structure of social positions.
“Juan and Susan have been given free rein to mine the museum and we’re excited to see how they choose to explore and interpret our collection,” noted Gibbes Executive Director Angela D. Mack.