Curatorial Statement – Debra Purden

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Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection

  Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

From the City of Chicago official website Curatorial Statements

Statement by curator Debra Purden..

I love the drama embodied by the Kunstkammer or ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ portion of the exhibition in Sidney Yates Gallery. The architecture of the room is a perfect backdrop for the diverse cultures and time periods represented by the collection, and becomes itself a part of the conversation about the exhibition. The drama of the War Room in the Exhibit Hall is resident in the content of the artwork – war has never been a pretty subject, and Richard Harris’s collection includes manifold representations of the miseries we do not wish to imagine have been repeated through the centuries. Will we never learn?

By amassing an encyclopedic collection surveying the way that death has been portrayed in art over the centuries, Richard Harris himself is the true curator of this exhibition. The works in these two galleries represent only a portion of his collection, and the most difficult part of the two year process assembling this exhibition was to have to say, “No, we can’t include that Richard; there just isn’t any more room.”

My colleague Lucas Antony Cowan designed the beautiful display of Richard’s morbid collection, and my role was managing the many details of presenting this information to the public. There is simply too much to see in one visit so we hope you will come back often, and enjoy the related programs here at the Chicago Cultural Center taking place during the run of the exhibition.

Debra Purden
Curator and Registrar
Chicago Cultural Center.

For statement by  Lucas Cowan.. click here..

 

Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

 

Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

 

Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

 

Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

Curators Lucas Cowan and Debra Purden

 

 

 

 

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