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Tennessee State University

March 10-March 28, 2008

TSU's Hiram Van Gordon Gallery celebrates Women's History Month with an exhibition of art including prints, paintings, installation and sculpture. Cuteness is a social construction. Referring to child-like appearance and behaviors, calling something “cute” puts it in its place. The disarming, seemingly light nature of small, demure things invites an inquiry into the deeper and more profound—small but mighty, so they say. Cutie Pie, an exhibition curated by Jodi Hays, won a 2007 curatorial award from the New York Studio Gallery and will make a stop at TSU’s Hiram Van Gordon Gallery for Women’s History Month.

Lolita is the older sister of today’s “cute” alluring girl, using her innocent femininity to invoke desire or gain power over another. Desire, identity and nostalgia embodied in “cute” work- create an ironic ambiguity situated around innocence, sexuality and the mass image. From Japanese manga and Hello Kitty to the American “girl next door”, the nature of “cute” carries with it the power of cultural subversion, sexuality and consumerism. Takashi Murakami, with his cartoonish, googly-eyed characters, provokes discussions on war and the A-bomb-- proving that “cute” can pack a cultural punch.

The work in Cutie Pie is charming and playful, however not without edge or ambition. The exhibition includes works in which characters emerge. Characters endear and ingratiate, like a new untrained puppy. Artists in “Cutie Pie” invoke image, color, medium and pop-culture to engage in a visual dialogue on the nature of “cute.” An opening reception will take place on March 14 from 3:00pm-5:00pm.


-Drawing Collaborative of Favorite Things (TSU Drawing Class and McKissack 4th graders, Nashville, TN) Animated drawing of student's favorite things.

-Wendy Deschene (Auburn, AL, drawing) is a multi-media artist exhibiting exquisite drawings.

-Mark Hosford’s (Nashville, TN, printmaking) prints seem to invite (with warning) the viewer into the colorfully sinister world of an innocently twisted child. The works says at once “Come play” and “Watch it.”

-Jennifer Leach (Nashville, TN, printmaking) makes work that speaks to desire and kitsch.

-Kristi Ryba (Charleston, SC, video) fastidiously creates stop animation videos from miniature worlds of dolls and child’s play.

-Amy Santoferraro (Gatlinberg, TN/Philadelphia, PA multimedia installation) crams in the “cute” through her multi-media installations, blasting color and image together for a kitschy and elegant display-like a crazed collector showing off their obsessive habit.

-Barbara Schreiber (Charlotte, NC, painting) constructs Dick and Jane gone-awry bit narratives through her paintings.

-Rosemary Swain (Nashville, TN, ceramics) “nices up” a world of violence through her baby blue “Shredder”