Braving the cold outdoor winds hours before boarding a plane to head back to the even colder New Hampshire blizzards for winter break, the efforts of Darya Kharabi and Sarah Kim to curate a show outside were well worth feeling a bit nippy for a short while. Featuring the works of seven students from Robert Bingham’s Concept Studio: EcoArt class, Kharabi and Kim successfully pulled off the impossible-- getting CMU to fully approve, not just one, but 5 outdoor installations.
At the top of the steps leading down into the Doherty Jungle, in the seams of a concrete wall Sheenu You placed some of her “Grow Dough” to grow grass, giving the wall a strange new but green look. Further along the path shown on little maps of the exhibition, Shelby Zasacky and Anna Telmer placed a wreath of vines both real and metal on the pillars of the Randy Pausch Bridge, a contrast from the other bare (due to the cute but hungry working goats) gray and drab concrete slabs. Outside of the Gates Building, Taylor Venice and Isabelle Vincent’s Emerging Structure occupied the patch of greenery in visually pleasing way, transforming the space into a more noticeable and interesting place. Nearby stood what at first seemed to be a larger-than-life metal garlic bulb. Katie Tender’s Trash Topiary functioned as a waste receptacle, seeming to challenge how we treat different objects, what deserves to be art and what deserves to be a trash bin. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to the reception, and Hannah Kim’s animation Wind was no longer on display. However, I was able to see the video later online, and found the animation to be quite impressive.
I applaud the efforts of these artists and the curators. Seeing art inhabit a space other than a gallery is always exciting. Hopefully CMU’s Facilities Management and Environmental Health Services will be more willing to work with students on future shows such as this!
Documentation of the show can be found on Darya Kharabi’s website here: https://daryakharabi.com/Collection-2