‘The Bed Show’ makes itself comfortable at Lawton Gallery

“The Bed Show” — an original exhibition related to the place of the bed in art, culture and daily life — opens at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Lawton Gallery this Thursday (March 5).

The opening reception takes place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the gallery located in Room 230 of Theatre Hall. The exhibit’s curator, Stephen Perkins, will offer remarks about the show at 5 p.m.

“We are born in beds and most of us will die in beds, and, of course, there’s a lot that happens in between,” says Perkins, a Ph.D. and art educator who serves as UW-Green Bay’s curator of art. “Each of us will spend at least a third of our lives in bed, and it’s rare that we seriously think about this place where we spend so much time.”

Lawton Gallery exhibit, The Bed ShowThe exhibit runs through April 2. (The gallery will be closed during UW-Green Bay’s spring break week, March 16-21.) The Lawton Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday during fall and spring semesters. All gallery events are free and open to the public.

Perkins says “The Bed Show” will pay particular attention to how artists have used the image of the bed in their work. Made up of a series of different components, the exhibit will include work by members of the local art community and art students at UW-Green Bay and St. Norbert College as well as Seymour High School. Also displayed will be 70 pieces of mail art (postcards and similar small-scale work), sent in by artists in 18 different countries who responded to a call for submissions addressing the theme.

Perkins says the show will offer interactive elements, as well, with visitors invited to use a do-it-yourself collage studio to create their own artwork around the theme. It’s even possible, he suggests, that a one-night “sleepover” might break out during the show’s run.

The exhibit is book-ended by references to two historically important works that included beds, both of which provoked controversy when first exhibited. Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia (1863) outraged the Parisian audience for many reasons, one of them the presence of a model that viewers read as being a prostitute. The second artwork is a much more recent work by the English artist Tracey Emin and is simply titled My Bed (1998). Emin exhibited her bed, accompanied with all the assorted items that had gathered around it after an extended stay. Critics questioned the installation’s value as art, especially after it received serious consideration for a major prize.

For more information, contact Curator of Art Stephen Perkins at (920) 465-2916 or via email at perkinss@uwgb.edu, or visit the Lawton Gallery website, www.uwgb.edu/lawton. You can also find “Lawton Gallery” on Facebook.


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