January 27, 2024 — May 4, 2024
Main & Front Galleries

Winter/Spring Exhibitions Reception
Friday, January 26, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
The evening will celebrate the new exhibitions and feature open studios by current resident artists.

THIS SIDE UP: Artists in Conversation
Saturday, January 27, 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Join THIS SIDE UP’s exhibiting artists for a panel moderated by HCCC Curator + Exhibitions Director, Sarah Darro. The panelists will share insider perspectives on producing this exhibition and new bodies of work to articulate a complex history about the business of handling art.

Deconstructing the Exhibition Gallery Lecture
Saturday, February 17, 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Join the Curator of THIS SIDE UP for a special, behind-the-scenes lecture that delves into the networked, iterative process of making and designing exhibitions–from conception to final presentation.

Art Handling Olympics
Thursday, March 7, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Join HCCC for the first-ever Texas Art Handling Olympics! Inspired by the infamous competition that emerged in New York City by and for the art handling community in 2010, HCCC will host a modified version of this riotous event. Participation instructions, awards, and judges to be announced.

Featuring the work of mount makers, crate builders, and exhibition fabricators, as well as artwork informed by these practices, this group exhibition frames art handling and collections-care practices within the field of craft and brings unprecedented attention to the specialized knowledge, skill, apprenticeship, problem-solving, and deep understanding of materials required to build and support art infrastructure.

THIS SIDE UP is the first curatorial project of its kind to frame the materials-based knowledge and making practices radiating from the museum industrial complex within the discipline of craft. HCCC Curator and Exhibitions Director Sarah Darro notes, “THIS SIDE UP is an exhibition about the making of an exhibition. Its design and layout reflect the art object’s journey from artist studio to art-shipping transit facility to clandestine preparation room, and finally, to public presentation in the museum gallery.”

The throughline of the exhibition is an investigation of labor and visibility (or invisibility) within the field. For instance, two new series, “Passage (those that carried us)” by Vivian Chiu and “Quotidian Relics” by Adam Manley, transform the art storage crate into a conduit for larger discourses on migration, labor, and value–not only referencing the bodies of artwork they hold but also serving as a metaphor for the journey of their makers and the network of people who steward them through space and over time. On the other hand, renowned art handlers Willem de Haan and Clynton Lowry, founding editor of Art Handler Magazine, present sculptural, wearable, and editorial works that showcase the highly specialized, skilled, and often undervalued anonymous labor and making within museums. Their practices also demonstrate how art handling has informed and inspired adjacent creative production, from fashion design to meme-making and community organizing.

The exhibition and its associated programming provide visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the “behind-the-scenes” work of museums and prioritize the viewing of crafted objects that are typically obscured. By providing new visibility for these oft-overlooked and many times purposefully concealed objects, this exhibition highlights the masterful craftsmanship of these makers and their vital role in facilitating the art experience.

THIS SIDE UP is curated by HCCC Curator & Exhibitions Director, Sarah Darro. Exhibiting artists include Vivian Chiu, Willem de Haan, Clynton Lowry, Adam Manley, and more. HCCC received material donations and exhibition support from the registration, preparation, and exhibitions teams of the following museums: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA; Museum for Art in Wood, Philadelphia, PA; Wharton Esherick Museum, Malvern, PA; Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA;  and Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI.

Image credits:

  1. Adam Manley, “Quotidian Relics: Museum for art in Wood Dolly,” 2023. Donated object, poplar, plywood, foam, paint. 34 x 23 x 10.75 inches. © Museum for Art in Wood. Photo: John Carlano.