The second week of class, the Exhibition Development Seminar took a field trip to Laure Drogoul’s house. As soon as I stepped inside, I was greeted by The Root…Blue Eyed, one of her signature lantern-esque sculptures. The giant devil head, complete with roving eyes, nearly filled her foyer. Its glowing skin, covered in snakes and railroad maps, bathed the room in a warm and spectral light. Beyond The Root knickknacks and doodads, sketches and models, masks and taxidermy occupied nearly every nook and cranny of her living room. What have I gotten myself into, I thought.
After we situated ourselves around The Root Laure showed us a slide show of her work from going all the way back to her Rinehart School of Sculpture thesis work. Overwhelmed by the shear volume and variety of art she’d produced, I was beginning to wonder how the heck we were going to pull this exhibition off.
Over the course of the fall semester, we immersed ourselves in Laure’s work, making studio visits and viewing slide shows, reading reviews and doing our own writing. I learned that Laure lives her art. She collects, preserves, researches, and accumulates anything and everything that sparks her interest—and her house is a testament to that. As Follies curator Gerald Ross would say, Drogoul is a maximalist who inhabits a dark, lush world.
We tried to infuse all elements of the exhibition, from the pages of the catalog to the gallery space, with this same sensibility. One of the more tangible ways we achieved this in the gallery space was with the Hive: the gallery within a gallery.
Inside of the Hive are bits and pieces of Laure’s world. Her collection of “big eyed” Margaret Keane paintings cohabitate with cinder block shoes, performance videos, specimen jars, chewed pencils, road kill documentation, catcher’s masks, and a fun house mirror. We wanted to make the Hive a center of activity and exploration, the heart of the exhibition. During the opening the Hive was truly activated. It was really gratifying to see the space come together as a sort of hub. People really enjoyed exploring Laure’s work and influences on a more intimate level.