For his project for Craig Stone’s Art in Public Places class, first-year art education master’s student Carlos Ramirez sought, at first, to decorate a gender-neutral bathroom. It was the perfect venue to display his work, he thought, but when he was prohibited from doing so, he had to take matters into his own hands.
Seeing that the walls in the west wing of CSULB’s Horn Center were empty, he submitted a proposal to have his exhibition, “Taint Modern: Somewhere in the Between,” on display.
“I wanted to create a space that felt like a home with a chosen family,” Ramirez, 28, said.
Ramirez’s collection, comprised of work from at least 13 artists, – including two dancers, a duet piece and a solo piece – took about a month to curate. At the core of his project is the concept of inclusivity.
“This course was about confronting the public with a social issue,” Ramirez said. “…As a queer artist and someone who has worked at museums, I knew the misrepresentation that has been provided by institutions.”
Jason Patrick stopped by “Taint Modern” because he had a friend involved. As a music appreciator himself, he spent most of the time at the exhibition’s opening night Monday taking in the exhibition’s general meaning.
“What you see is only a fraction of what the artist means to say,” he said.
Taint Modern includes mixed media pieces from alumni, undergraduate students and graduate students. In the middle of the display is a dinner spread that gives the feeling of being home for the holidays.
“‘Somewhere in the Between’ is a play of words,” Ramirez said. “It’s how queer people feel…we’re ‘queering’ institutionalized places. It’s mostly about identity and identity politics…about creation and self-exploration of the body.”
Stone was present at the opening as well, appalled that Ramirez was able to book the location.
“This is not an opportunity that students usually have,” Stone said. “You’re confronted with the possibility of not being able to do this, and then he says, ‘Why don’t I just do it somewhere else?’”