Contemporary Craft’s inaugural exhibition – The Heart Lives Through the Hands – in its new, permanent facility in Upper Lawrenceville will feature internationally acclaimed artist Caledonia Curry’s (a.k.a. Swoon) large-scale paper and mixed media artworks. Swoon is the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art. Her cut paper and hand printed works marry the whimsical to the grounded, weaving in fairy tales, myth, and a recurring motif of the sacred feminine. Tendrils of her own family history—and a legacy of her parents’ struggles with addiction and substance abuse—recur throughout her work. Her exhibiting artwork addresses relationships between people and their built environment and explores how creativity can positively impact communities in times of crisis and change.
We are excited to extend this exhibition through March 20, 2021 with timed ticketing and safety protocols in place!
Caledonia Curry, whose work appears under the name Swoon, is a Brooklyn-based artist. Swoon took to the streets of New York while attending the Pratt Institute of Art in 1999, pasting her paper portraits to the sides of buildings with the goal of making art and the public space of the city more accessible.
In a moment when contemporary art often holds a conflicted relationship to beauty, Swoon’s work carries with it an earnestness, treating the beautiful as sublime even as she explores the darker sides of her subjects. While much of Swoon’s art plays with the fantastical, there is also a strong element of realism. This can be seen in her myriad social endeavors, including a long-term community revitalization project in Braddock, Pennsylvania and her efforts to build earthquake-resistant homes in Haiti through Konbit Shelter. Her non-profit, the Heliotrope Foundation, was created in order to further support these ventures.
Today, Swoon’s work can be found on the sides of buildings worldwide and has been given both permanent and transient homes in more classical institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Tate Modern, and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Most recently, she has begun using film animation to explore the boundaries of visual storytelling.
General operating support for Contemporary Craft is provided by Allegheny Regional Asset District, The Heinz Endowments, Henry L. Hillman Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Opportunity Fund, the Elizabeth R. Raphael Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, JENDOCO Construction Corporation, and Giant Eagle Foundation.
The Heart Lives Through the Hands media sponsors are NEXTpittsburgh, 90.5 WESA, and 91.3 WYEP.
Artwork featured: Swoon. Dawn and Gemma, 2014. Photo courtesy of the artist.