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Joan Gaustad – Someone’s Missing … And I Think It’s Me

Joan Gaustad Someone's Missing and I think it's Me

Joan Gaustad Someone’s Missing … And I Think It’s Me

Book by Joan Gaustad

Exhibition curated by Michael Lease

August 24 – September 29

Exhibition Reception: Friday, Sept. 10, 6:00–9:00 PM

Book Launch: Wednesday, Sept. 8, 7:00–9:00 PM

THE ANDERSON and VCUarts are pleased to present Someone’s Missing … and I Think it’s Me, an exhibition conceived by artist Joan Gaustad and curated by Michael Lease. Someone’s Missing is the story of two artists navigating the mysteries and terrors of early onset dementia with love and wild humor.  A companion to Gaustad’s book by the same title (Someone’s Missing … and I Think it’s Me, VCU Publishing, 2021), the exhibition presents art, photographs and artifacts from painter and long-time VCU professor Gerald “Jerry” Donato, as well as artworks by Gaustad and their mutual friends. 

Exhibition Statement

The exhibition is an immersive, interactive installation with Donato’s artist sketchbooks available for direct viewing and selections from his library, record collection and other personal belongings and effects available for reading, viewing and listening. Original photos and diary excerpts are present as artifacts or in surreally oversized reproductions that sprawl across the art-covered walls and floor. A cheap acrylic panda bear blanket—a relic of Gaustad and Donato’s famous art parties—covers an oversized floor mat, offering a place to linger, read or play chess. 

While the title suggests an absence, the exhibition and book offer moving evidence to the contrary: the physical residue of Donato’s life—his art, books, music, and treasured objects—along with the resonance of his influence, words and memory, amplify and extend him, making his presence felt and known. Donato is, as the title of the zine which accompanies the book emphatically proclaims, “NOT MISSING!”

Published by Virginia Commonwealth University Publishing (2021), the book and accompanying zine will be available for purchase at Chop Suey Books (2913 W Cary St, Richmond), at the Anderson exhibition (8/23–9/29, 907 ½ W Franklin St, Richmond) and at a book launch event on Wednesday, September 8th, 7–9pm at Cabell Library (VCU’s Monroe Park campus) where the author will be in dialogue with longtime friend and first reader Sara Monroe, M.D., VCU professor emeritus of infectious disease. 

A public reception for the exhibition will be held at the Anderson on Friday, September 10th, 6–9pm. The exhibition will be on view August 24th to September 29th, 2021.

Artist Bio

Joan Gaustad is an artist working in Richmond, Virginia. Known for her figurative works which feature dark, story-loaded images superimposed on diary pages and texts, Gaustad’s practice is currently focused on books, including RVA ART (self-published, 2020), Someone’s Missing….and I Think it’s Me (VCU Publishing, 2021), and NOT MISSING (VCU Publishing, 2021).

She studied in Bangkok, Thailand, Offenbach Hochshule für Gestaltung, in Germany and holds a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. Gaustad has participated in solo and group shows nationally and internationally with work included at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and in the Michael Smith installation It starts at Home at the Whitney Museum of American Art. An installation at Sediment Arts (Richmond), based on House Hold, a book in collaboration with photographer Michael Lease, was curated by Amber Esseiva and Claire Zitzow.