“As you talk, sit up straight and don’t fidget. And choose your subjects with care. While politics, religion, and other potentially volatile topics aren’t really off-limits, discussing them could risk nettling your dinner companions and putting a damper on the meal.”
-Peggy Post, Emily Post’s Etiquette (New York: Harper Resource, 2004).
There are unspoken rules within society that are tacitly governing our everyday actions and conversations. Emily Post published the earliest of these “How To’s” in her 1922 book, Etiquette: The Blue Book for Social Usage. The book is currently on its 19th edition as Post’s descendants have continually updated the contents to reflect current times. Why shouldn’t we talk about these things at the table?: A Community Based Conversation with South Florida Artists, considers the guidance from Post that there are certain topics which should not be brought up at the dinner table. Today, table etiquette recommendations prevail in the form of blogs, podcasts, social media posts and news articles that are readily available via any device with a wireless connection. The persistent nature of this advice has led us to question why it still seems appropriate to avert important subjects in conversation. Why not discuss politics, religion, and other potentially uncomfortable topics at the table? How are we to learn to process and work through unavoidable life events if we cannot talk with each other about them? The dinner table in particular has long ties to the idea of the nuclear family and of family bonding. Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that this dream of the “American” family has not historically represented the diversity of unique family dynamics notably exemplified within our South Florida community, which is the most diverse in the state. Shouldn’t the passing of time and varied manifestations of family allow for us to bend these rules to bring together an informed and empathetic community as extended family?
In questioning traditional societal expectations, the curators AdrienneRose Gionta and Jeanie Ambrosio emphasize the need for dialogue as a core tool for speaking to challenging subjects. During a time of social/physical distancing, the curatorial process builds on a series of virtual studio visits, which aim to understand how local artists from diverse backgrounds are responding to the current political climate through their work. To begin this conversation, we bring 15 South Florida artists to the proverbial “table”: Harumi Abe, John William Bailly, Randy Burman, lou anne colodny, Morel Doucet, Todd Lim, Laura Marsh, Peggy Levison Nolan, Marielle Plaisir, Sri Prabha, Sandra Ramos, Lisa Rockford, Sarah Michelle Rupert, Onajide Shabaka, and Michelle Weinberg. Aligning with the 2020 presidential election during a global pandemic, this online exhibition serves as an alternative source of contemplation beyond the traditional debates and media stream. Presenting and reflecting on these collective yet varied points of view may enrage, divide, heal or enlighten, while bringing forth a sense of community and reminding us that we are all delicately interconnected.
Born in Brooklyn, AdrienneRose Gionta currently lives and works in South Florida. She is an artist and curator whose work is currently featured at Oolite Arts in Miami and the Foreign Objekt international online exhibition. She earned an MFA in Time Based Media and Photography from Florida International University and her BFA in Sculpture and a BA in Psychology at Florida Atlantic University. She was awarded the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists – one of the largest regional, government-sponsored artists’ grants in the United States; as well as the Art and Architecture Fellow at the Department of Architecture, FIU, the Betty Laird Perry Award from The Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Art, and the Women in the Visual Arts Scholarship, FAU. As an artist & cultural producer, AdrienneRose has curated and designed contemporary art exhibitions and programming at the University Galleries at FAU; Coral Gables Museum, Online; Miami Beach Urban Studio Galleries; and the Frost Art Museum at FIU.
Jeanie Ambrosio was born in Fort Lauderdale and continues to live and work in South Florida. She works at the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Miami serving both as associate curator and assistant to collector Martin Z. Margulies. Since 2010, Ambrosio has curated and produced numerous contemporary art exhibitions for institutions including FAU, Girls' Club Collection, Broward College, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse and USF. Her most recent curatorial project includes an exhibition of 139 historic photographs culled from the collection of Martin Z. Margulies on display at the Ritter Art Gallery, University Galleries, FAU in early 2020. Ambrosio is a founder and collaborator of the writing collective The Cabbage Palm who produce reviews and interviews of artists and arts professionals. She received a BA in art history and a BFA in photography from Florida Atlantic University in 2013. She attended the University of South Florida where she was the recipient of the James Rosenquist Fellowship and received her MA in art history specializing in contemporary art and photography in 2018.
About The Web Designers
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Chastity Pascoe is a writer, artist, and graphic designer based in South Florida. In 2017, she received her BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in sculpture from Florida Atlantic University. She was the recipient of the FAU Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry Grant, presented at the FAU Undergraduate Research Symposium, and was also awarded a Friedland Project Grant for Studio Art. Her most recent exhibitions include What’s Your Elephant: Safer at Home at 1310 Gallery and We’ve Got A Bright Place in the Sky at Girls' Club. Pascoe works as a digital consultant for various institutions and organizations including the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum and Aya Arts Project.
Chastity Pascoe /
Born and raised in Miami Florida, Annette Martinez is a illustrator, designer and musical theatre enthusiast currently pursuing her BFA in Graphic Design at Florida Atlantic University. She will be exhibiting her design work with the senior BFA class of 2020 in the upcoming online showcase entitled Perspective.
Annie Martinez /Annettemarti2017@fau.edu
Website Designer: Chastity Pascoe with support from Annette Martinez
Galleries Staff Support: Ashley Utley, Daniela Andrade, Dominique Northecide, Susana Flores
To Sofia Honekman for skillfully managing all four online exhibitions, to Cate Babcock for her expert video editing, Caroline Parker for editing and proofreading, all of the University Galleries student and full-time staff for their behind-the-scenes support. Special thanks to Rod Faulds for supporting us all along the way. And most of all, thank you to all the artists for being so generous with your time, we greatly enjoyed talking with you all at the table about the topics most important to your work.
This exhibition is part of FAU | University Galleries Presents: A Four Exhibition Look at Our Past, Present & Future Politics. The collaborative project received generous financial support from the Peace, Justice and Human Rights program as well as collaboration from the Department of Visual Arts and Art History, both in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at FAU.
University Galleries exhibitions and programs are supported by the Isadore and Kelly Friedman University Galleries Fund; Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on the Arts, and; Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. Museum Education programs are made possible in part by the Kaye Arts Integration Endowment.
University Galleries Museum Education Program provides arts education services through School Partnerships and Artist Mentorship Program (AMP) - a program providing studio art activities to youth in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. These programs are continuing virtually Fall 2020. For more information, please contact our Museum Education Coordinator, Ashley Utley via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton