Curated Student Show – Dan Hurlin

Exhibition Statement

My mother was an actress, so I grew up in the theater. At a relatively early age, I could sing all the songs from CAMELOT and MY FAIR LADY and had memorized parts of Neil Simon’s BAREFOOT IN THE PARK and William Gibson’s THE MIRACLE WORKER.As soon as the curtain went up, I could tell you if we were in for a comedy or a tragedy. By ten years old, I knew that two thirds of Act One was spent on ‘setting the scene’ and that the big plot twist would come at roughly two thirds of the way through Act Two. I found it quite comforting and reassuring to have it all mapped out. Then I became a teenager and the need to rebel took hold. What had seemed comforting and reassuring when I was ten, suddenly became infuriatingly predictable. If the curtain went up and the set included a sofa, I knew I was doomed to watch actors enter and exit pretending to be other people, wanting things from each other, while trying like Hell to imagine that I wasn’t there, watching. “Ugh!” I would think to myself, “Another sofa play!” Being steeped in traditional fare from such a tender age meant that, still quite young, I could reject it and seek out more experimental fare. While my high school classmates were excited to be doing yet another production of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, I grooved to HAIR, thrilled at Edward Albee’s AMERICAN DREAM and Elmer Rice’s THE ADDING MACHINE, and yearned to do a production of Jean Claude Van Italie’s AMERICA HURRAH in the round.(Progressive and radical fare back in the 60’s!) By sixteen, I’d already identified the tropes and conventions of traditional theater and was more than ready to move past them. I tell all this to explain why and how I developed a taste for the unpredictable, the off kilter, the unknowable, the quirky, the obtuse, the mysterious, and the enigmatic. I am excited by being confused. I love things that you think might be one way but turn out to be another. I like being left alone to figure things out in my head, and to not be told what to think. I love objects and moments that are as ‘Beautiful as the accidental encounter, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella,’ as the French writer Isidore Ducasse wrote. (His phrase was later taken to heart by the Dadaists and the Surrealists.)It is this sensibility that has guided my collection of these wonderful works. Then again, I still do love a good sofa play every now and then. Go figure.