“Allusions of Modesty” Q&A Part I

By Lynn Lieu

Posted May 28, 2012 in Arts & Culture
Death is a humbling thing. And the closer to your heart it gets the more humbling it is. There’s no value in this thing we call “life” without death, it’s the yin and the yang, and at the end of the day we are just working towards making the best of the time we have until the inevitable. And as morbid as it sounds there’s a quiet beauty behind it all. In “Allusions of Modesty” Leora Lutz reflects on the recent loss of a dear friend and ultimately makes a statement about life, what it means and why we’re all here to begin with. In her exhibit, currently on display at theRiversideArt Museum, Lutz employs a mix of mediums that while thought provoking also convey a silent celebration of a comrade. We caught up with Lutz to chat about it all.

Can you give us a brief background on your career? What led you to become an artist, curator and gallerist?
It’s funny, when I think of the things I have done over the years, the first thing that comes to mind that led me there was “desire.” I have always had an inclination toward ideas, thinking things through and then doing them. Art and expression [have] always been a part of me and the things that I like to pursue for work and for pleasure. From my time in undergrad during the late ’80s, early ’90s I have been making art and curating shows . . . I love curating, and working with artists. Artists are always blowing me away with their great ideas, thoughts and amazing objects or pictures. I think it is important for art to make some kind of difference for people, to give them something to think about, to spark conversation and conspire more new ideas . . . In 2010, I hit another moment in my life where I could take another risk and I decided to come back to school to get a Master’s of Fine Art degree in interdisciplinary sculpture, and an M.A. in visual criticism. It’s a hybrid program that supports art making with philosophy, art history and writing.

Can you tell us about the concept of “Allusions of Modesty”? How did it come about?
The concept of “Allusions of Modesty” came about in the recent months after the death of a friend and curator this past January. When moments like death happens, it is common for people to begin to think about the important things in life, and to wonder about the purpose of being “here.”
It’s also a time to reflect on great things, and to celebrate. My friend was very giving and helped a lot of people with their art careers and was supportive of my work and the things I was doing. He was humble.
I thought that he was the opposite of the notion of Delusions of Grandeur.When trying to name what that opposition would be, I started to geek-out on semantics, and the meaning of words and language: An “allusion” is a reference to an idea, a story, a theme in a work of art, or an experience without being specific, and one which allows the reader or viewer to bring their own meanings, relationships and understanding to the work. “Modesty” is unadorned, and demure—concealing in a way, not ostentatious. “Allusions of Modesty” reminded me of my friend and the private life he led that no one was aware of until it was too late . . . The thing that I find so interesting about language and its relationship with visual material is stunningly symbiotic to me. There is such a give and take, so many parallels and at the same time oppositions. It’s a total fiber (literally and metaphorically) of life in general, and how people connect or disconnect with each other.

Riverside Art Museum 3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7111; www.riversideartmuseum.org. Thru July 6. Gallery hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm.

Check back next week for more from Leora Lutz.

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