It is not the regular curatorial assignment, to pull together a thoughtful art exhibit in a space with an enormous hubcap chandelier hanging over the stairwell. But that’s the assignment now that Nashville’s Tinney Contemporary gallery is partnering with Bobby.
“It has its quirkiness and idiosyncrasies, so you have to have work that can stand on its own,” says Joshua Edward Bennett, gallery manager for Tinney Contemporary. He definitely understood the assignment. “The pieces have to be bold enough to become those punctuation marks.”
TEMPTER, a group exhibition that sprouted a floral theme, includes works by Leah Guadagnoli, Sky Kim and Herb Williams. Each artist created works using floral iconography, but the growing field is anything but homogenous. Each artist brings their own approach to the universally familiar elegance of the flower—which Bennett calls nature’s décor—to create a wild ecosystem inside the hotel. Nearly 200 people—from locals to hotel guests—came to see the TEMPTER opening.
Bennett curated the show to work with the linear nature of the two-story design of the building. “I thought about the dynamic experience of the viewer,” he says. In addition, the floral elements in the show contrast with the masculine nature of the Bobby space—with leather, tobacco and deep reds.
Curating a show like TEMPTER at Bobby is not night and day between gallery and the hotel. But there are differences. “We are afforded more risk at the Bobby because of the funkiness of the space,” Bennett says.
The title of the show came from a song title from the band Stereolab, also called Tempter. “The flower, in most cases, functions as an enticer, a desirable feature of a plant, in order to propagate itself. So, in essence, the tempter,” Bennett says. “Though not directly about plants, the lyrics of the song feel appropriate and speak to the cycle of life.”
Those lyrics read:
Midway between happiness and sadness Boiling but never overflowing Falls to only make a better comeback More powerful & poignant & falls again Destructive lust for life erected On the verge pricked up like a picket Fearing to respond to the tempting but Malevolent call of the other side
Bennett is proud of the ongoing collaboration of Tinney and Bobby, and particularly TEMPTER. “This is the best curated show I have done to date,” he says.
TEMPTER opened January 2023 and runs through April 2023,which will mark Bobby’s fifth birthday. Visit it on the first and second floors of the hotel.
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