Thursday, October 9, 2014

Inside the Scottish Rite Temple: Circuitous Succession

Posted By on Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM

click to enlarge The Double-Headed Eagle.
  • The Double-Headed Eagle.

"The cause of human progress is our cause, the enfranchisement of human thought our supreme wish, the freedom of human conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention." So begins the Scottish Rite creed, a set of ideas evidenced in the Masonic order's welcoming of ambitious works by nearly 50 local, national, and international artists into their grand temple at 825 Union Avenue, a building frozen in time, and already laden with symbols, murals, and decorative detail.


click to enlarge img_0244.jpg

Curated by Jason Miller, "Circuitous Succession Epilogue" brings together a variety of artists working in mediums ranging from wood and steel to fragile ceramics and plastic Walmart grocery sacks. The artwork can also be heady, exploring a range of topics from economic disparity to corporate dominance to female exclusion. It may also be witty, as is the case with stairwell installations by sculptor Greely Myatt, and a tricky piece by multimedia artist Jay Etkin that has been used by Miller to create a kind of hide-and-seek game with visitors.

A partial video tour with Jason Miller

click to enlarge SCULPTURE BY ROY TAMBOLI
  • Sculpture by Roy Tamboli
The Scottish Rite building is three stories with a dining room and a grand theater that was expanded and refurbished when it was used to film performance scenes for the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. It is already outfitted with ornamental work, masonic symbols, and portraits of past members. 

A closer look inside the Scottish Rite theater with Jason Miller
click to enlarge Secrets inside
  • Secrets inside
Miller, who curated his first exhibit in the grand, non-traditional space a year ago, is also a conceptual artist who believes that an artwork is completed by its surroundings. The Scottish Rite gives him a lot to work with. 

click to enlarge The rose cross.
  • The rose cross.

Miller can't stop talking about the depth of talent in his show and seems especially excited about four pieces created by Shara Rowley Plough. "It's called Maids Work," he says of the collection. "She wove maids' garments out of Walmart shopping bags. They are so detailed; it must have taken her a year."
click to enlarge Jason Miller, behind the board. Backstage at the Scottish Rite Temple - CHRIS DAVIS
  • Chris Davis
  • Jason Miller, behind the board. Backstage at the Scottish Rite Temple


click to enlarge Going up?
  • Going up?

click to enlarge Door detail
  • Door detail

click to enlarge A better look at the board.
  • A better look at the board.

click to enlarge Sculpture by Anna Maranise
  • Sculpture by Anna Maranise

Anna Maranise's sculpture, installed in front of an allegorical Scottish Rite mural, provides one of the exhibitions best interactions between art and environment. Miller describes it as being like a "Cronenberg film."

click to enlarge The old masters. Masons, that is.
  • The old masters. Masons, that is.

click to enlarge Sculpture by Jay Etkin
  • Sculpture by Jay Etkin

click to enlarge No smoking signs are everywhere.
  • No smoking signs are everywhere.

click to enlarge Installation by Greely Myatt.
  • Installation by Greely Myatt.

click to enlarge More places to store your hat and coat.
  • More places to store your hat and coat.

click to enlarge img_0224.jpg

It's impossible to really capture how the above piece resonates in its space, below a Masonic ceiling mural. You really do have to see it to get it. 


click to enlarge img_0225.jpg


click to enlarge A painting by Beth Edwards
  • A painting by Beth Edwards

click to enlarge Chair.
  • Chair.

At times it's impossible to tell where the exhibit ends and the Temple begins. Everywhere you turn there's a William Eggleston photograph just waiting to be taken.

click to enlarge It's an impressive organ. No other way to put it.
  • It's an impressive organ. No other way to put it.

click to enlarge Theater detail.
  • Theater detail.

click to enlarge More backstage stuff.
  • More backstage stuff.

click to enlarge Costumes abound.
  • Costumes abound.

click to enlarge More costumes.
  • More costumes.

click to enlarge More places to store your hat and coat.
  • More places to store your hat and coat.

click to enlarge Buckets and a radiator.
  • Buckets and a radiator.

click to enlarge Stairs
  • Stairs

click to enlarge Art
  • Art

click to enlarge Fire escape
  • Fire escape

click to enlarge More chairs
  • More chairs

click to enlarge Rope hanging in a window
  • Rope hanging in a window

click to enlarge All that and a place to store your cloak. Members only.
  • All that and a place to store your cloak. Members only.

Miller can't stop talking about the depth of talent in his show and seems especially excited about four pieces created by Shara Rowley Plough not pictured in this post. "It's called Maids Work," he says of the collection. "She wove maids' garments out of Walmart shopping bags. They are so detailed; it must have taken her a year."

Circuitous Succession is an ambitious instillation in an impressive space that's majestic in some corners, and bit frayed at the elbows. The art alone is compelling enough. In the temple, it's downright irresistible. 

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