Why do people love art? I suspect it’s because it gets us out of the dreariness of everyday existence. All those routine tasks that make us human, like brushing our teeth or using the toilet. If you think about it, we spend more time in the bathroom than in the kitchen. It’s our unofficially designated shrine of self-discovery.
Artists Suzanne Edds and Michelle Amos ran with that idea when they installed an art exhibit in an actual bathroom of CRAFT(s) Gallery. The duo is using art to allow the viewer to see a space through a different lens. “Art in the Loo” runs through April 30. “Louisville has a fun, funky vibe and is known nationally for its creative people in all of the arts,” says Amos.
Karen Welch and David McGuire run CRAFT(s) Gallery, and it was initially Welch’s impeccable taste in interior design that caught the attention of the artists. Amos loved the gallery’s bathroom so much that she initially joked about hosting a show inside of it. Liberty Tattoo & Art Parlor co-owner Edds was also on board with having pieces displaced in an unconventional space. The thought of decking out a bathroom was so appealing, Welch put a pause on a retirement of solo exhibitions.
The moment Marcel Duchamp entered a flipped urinal in an exhibition, he turned us on to the era of modern art. The year was 1917 and the artist French. Out of a few thousand-paged art history books, Duchamp’s name has never escaped me. He challenged art and allowed it to be a medium of self-expression. If you wanted to create, there was nothing stopping you, because the standards of what was beautiful or acceptable had been erased.
Edds and Amos fall in the category of neo-Dadaist artists. “Art can live anywhere,” says Amos, so why not the bathroom? Both artists took different approaches when it came to their adornment of the space. “The collaboration part was easy, because Suzanne and I are so familiar with each other’s work,” Amos explains.
Edds’ contribution is kaleidoscope-like mandalas on treated canvas resembling skin mounted on black wood. At closer examination, the prints reveal a body’s naughty bits. Amos’ pieces are functional and include items one might actually use and leave in a bathroom, such as face scrubbies in a dip-dye-colored hand-stitched basket, ring dishes in spring colors, robes and bed jackets.
“Reactions have ranged from comments like ‘beautiful work’ to humor — especially potty humor,” Amos adds. “We hope this show encourages people to look at the space — and maybe their own bathrooms — in a different way.”