Raid the Icebox Now with Beth Katleman
This installation shines a light on the life of collector Charles L. Pendleton (1846–1904). In the corridor leading to Pendleton House, the RISD Museum’s decorative-arts wing, Beth Katleman creates an intricately embellished porcelain room replete with mirrors, architectural ornaments, and over-door sculptures. Hinting at dubious episodes from Pendleton’s life are a blindfolded Marilyn Monroe and Fortuna, Roman goddess of luck, a fitting muse given Pendleton’s passion for gambling. These elements and the many others in Game of Chance were cast by the artist in white porcelain from flea-market trinkets, toys, dolls, and pop icons, highlighting the contrasts between public and private personas as well as the polite veneer of Pendleton House and disreputable and mysterious aspects of the collector’s past.
Beth Katleman is an American sculptor based in Brooklyn, New York. She is best known for creating extravagantly detailed rococo installations laced with dark humor and literary references. Katleman casts found objects such as vintage dolls and other flea-market trinkets in white porcelain, then arranges them into ornate tableaus, fusing elements of high and low art and creating allegories that draw from pop culture, fairy tales, and classic literature.
Raid the Icebox Now is made possible by a lead grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from Pace Gallery, Taylor Box Company, and a generous in-kind gift from Meyer Sound Laboratories. RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.