Accessory to Art

clutch gallery has it in the bag.

The Clutch Gallery.

In Chicago, apartment galleries and temporary exhibition spaces are all the rage, a result of the economic meltdown and new ideas about curation. Meg Duguid’s Clutch Gallery is a wonderfully funny project that plays with this shift away from the traditional gallery space. The artist has miniaturized her art gallery down to her purse.

There is something of the Joseph Cornell box art to Clutch Gallery. The exhibitions Duguid offer for view at first seem small, ephemeral, and private, but the more you peer in, the more bottomless the displays seem to become, and the more wonderful their mysteries and revelations.

A purse is, once you think about it, quite like a gallery. They are both spaces of collecting things, but also realms of the temporary and transitory rather than the permanent (leave that to crates and museums). They are chambers that are halfway between the private and the public. They are places for hoarding objects but they are also needed for displaying or dispensing things. They are places where people fish around for important things, half forgotten but dearly needed.*

Meghan Wilbar, Keep It Simple @ The Clutch Gallery.

Peering into this miniature, portable gallery, we experience a sense of bounty. Offering a series of exhibits, announced on her blog like any other gallery show, Duguid transforms what first seems like a silly gag into something sneakily beautiful and moving. Clutch Gallery opens up a kind of secret message, whispered through pursed lips, that the smallest, most compacted acts of sharing art can be the most essential accessories to the aesthetic.


*There is an important gender dimension to transforming the gallery into a clutch purse, of course, that I am not addressing here.

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