June Kelly Gallery


Claudia DeMonte
Memento Vivere
Sculpture and Installations

Claudia DeMonte - Gift Box,2017, mixed media on wood, 10 x 12 x 10 inches, side 2

Gift Box, 2017
Mixed media on wood
10 x 12 x 10 inches

 Memento Vivere, an exhibition of sculpture and wall installations by Claudia DeMonte that reflect one woman’s travels, inquisitiveness and contemplation about women’s roles in society, will open at the June Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, on May 17.  The exhibition will remain on view through June 19.

DeMonte’s sense of self, women and cultural differences was natural to her growing up in Astoria, New York as a daughter in an Italian family in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the country.  “Empathy about the world stage was instilled in me by my family.  Thinking globally were common words in my home in the 1950s well before becoming a buzz word.”

DeMonte has traveled to over 100 countries, shown her work in 35, and “has always found fertile soil in the questions of women’s identity,” said Tom Sokolowski, former director of the Andy Warhol Museum.  DeMonte’s passion about gender roles and issues of social inclusion in their respective societies has through the years enthused her own art work.  Zealously DeMonte sought out women artisans from more than 177 countries and ultimately curated Real Beauty (2000-2007), a traveling exhibition of culturally diverse accounts interpreted through works of art.

DeMonte, a traveler, since her twenties obsessed with concern and wonder about women has said travel and dialogue with women globally made her increasingly aware of the way objects act as surrogates for important issues in our lives.  In 2009, art writer Eleanor Heartney stated in a monograph about DeMonte, “both globalism and feminism profoundly shaped DeMonte’s consciousness and in turn allowed her to contribute to the reshaping of contemporary art in these directions.”

In this exhibition, sculptures and wall installations focus on DeMonte’s primary theme… reminders of the pleasure of living.  Compellingly and candidly she employs an array of media and found material that bears witness to the lives of women, to the stories they tell, and the cultural legacy they each live as opening passage to a narrative.

Gift Box, 2017, a brightly painted sculpted wood container with closure secured by tied ornate ribbon suggests DeMonte’s preservation of cultural legacies representative of women in diverse global locations.  Her archetypical sculpted forms -- luggage, magic potent bottles, house, handbags, each laden heavily with trinkets, objects collected and treasured independently speak of their importance to the group.

Cose Che Ho Fatto, a wall installation of embroidered panels is as a technological swipe across DeMonte’s life.  Each of 70 panels is a remembrance recalling a past experience, fact, impression, skill, courage or sacrifice and carry them forward as a legacy to coming generations.  A second wall installation titled Profiles in Courage includes luggage tags each imprinted with the name of a country she has visited as well as the name of a woman she admires from that country.

Works of art exhibited here are “full of memento vivre-reminders of life, reflecting the artist’s journey through the feminist movement and the emergence of globalism.  The metamorphosis of woman and globalism creates a dialogue with the viewer.  The structure of womanhood through the years is evidenced in this lattice of probing introspection, demonstrated in disparate, divergent sculptures and images.”

DeMonte lives and works in New York City and Kent, Connecticut.  She received a bachelor's degree from College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore and an MFA from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

DeMonte's work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally.  The many public and private collections in which she is represented include the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Bass Museum, Miami, FL; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA; Indianapolis Museum of Art; University of Maryland, College Park; Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA; Portland Museum of Art, ME; Contemporary Art Museum, Villa Rufolo, Ravello, Italy; Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, Poland; University of Oldenburg, Germany, and the Hvidore Art Library, Denmark.


Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Turquoise hand bag with blue handle - 2017

Magic Potion Bottle - 2017 House Handbag - 2017

Travel Bag Square Bag - 2017

  Claudia DeMonte Bio

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