A Rave Review for “Stagecraft” from the St. Pete Times

Stagecraft Exhibition at USFCAM | Photo by Candace C. Mundy

Last Friday we had our reception for the current USFCAM exhibition, Stagecraft. We had a comfortably large turnout, complete with returning USF students, USF faculty members and a number art enthusiasts from Tampa and surrounding areas. The gallery was buzzing all night, and this video infused show seemed to please.

In fact, it received a bit of a rave review from the St. Pete Times art critic, Lennie Bennett, who actually called it “the best she has seen.” She seemed to particularly enjoy the Mary Reid Kelley video, You Make Me Iliad.

Here’s an excerpt from her write-up of the exhibition:

There have been many good exhibitions at area museums and galleries, but the best I have seen is “Stagecraft” at University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. I surprise myself in saying this because it’s primarily composed of video, four of them, and that is not my favorite genre. Video art is usually interesting, even entertaining, but I am often flummoxed by what it means. Its visual appeal can be trumped by an obscurity in the point being made. For me.

David Louis Norr, who curated “Stagecraft,” gathered works that have a strong theatrical element but use it as a starting point rather than a main point and are dense with originality and creativity without intimidating us with them.

Mary Reid Kelley, "You Make Me Iliad"
Mary Reid Kelley, "You Make Me Iliad"
My biggest plaudits go to the extraordinary You Make Me Iliad by Mary Reid Kelley, a tour de force of words and staging in a video form sometimes called neonarration. Kelley is a young visual artist, actor and writer, and her ability to combine those talents is nearly seamless. She has made a splash with her intricate narrative poems she acts out on sets she creates in grisaille, which means nothing but black, white and gray tones. She plays multiple roles costumed in black and white, her face and body also painted so. Read full review of Stagecraft here.

USFCAM Events are Opportunities to Enhance Your Experience with Art
Prior to the reception at the gallery we hosted a conversation with Artist Kate Gilmore, Scholars Elizabeth Bell and Stacey Holman-Jones, and Stagecraft Curator David Louis Norr which was moderated by USF Associate curator of Education, Megan Voeller. Events like this conversation are a lot of fun, and they offer those who attend an opportunity to interact with brilliant and interesting people who are established in their field.

USFCAM Event | Conversation with the Artist and Scholars | Photo by Candace C. Mundy

We strongly encourage all of you… students, art lovers, or anyone from our community with an interest in art… to attend these events because they are such a fabulous opportunity to broaden your experience with the artists and their work which we take such care to share with all of you!

Stagecraft Ends Soon!
Though we often have a reception at the opening of a show, this particular show will actually be ending very soon. So if you want to check it out, you’ll need to get here before September 10th! Lennie Bennet says:

“Stagecraft” ends Sept. 10, so go sooner not later. Prepare yourself, too, for the video experience, which asks you to sit for a while rather than move from work to work as you would at an exhibition of paintings or sculpture. You’ll need at least an hour to see them all. But since the museum’s free, you can return to take it in during several sittings.

We hope to see you soon!

Stagecraft Exhibition at USFCAM | Photo by Candace C. Mundy

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