Clutch Gallery is a 25-square-inch space located in the heart of Meg Duguid’s purse. The gallery was dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art of all media from 2009 to 2017. From 2013-2016, Meg Duguid lent me her "favorite accessory" as a curatorial project of the Society of Smallness. During my tenure as Clutch's curator and carrier, I organized over a dozen exhibitions featuring the work of Chicago-based artists.
For more information, see Clutch Gallery’s blog (http://www.clutch.gallery/).
An excerpt from The Society of Smallness—A Brief History
by Georgina Valverde
Published in Fwd: Museums, Small 2017
Until one starts carrying Clutch Gallery as a purse, it is difficult to fully appreciate the extent of Duguid’s visionary idea. Clutch Gallery creates opportunities to disrupt, ever so minutely, very ingrained expectations and opens up possibilities for conviviality. In this sense, Clutch Gallery is what audience engineer and museum participation expert Nina Simon calls a “social object.”
Clutch Gallery is small but has a big impact on praxis. Clutch Gallery is accessible, even when the artwork is not, like Erin Washington’s Untitled (aerophyte) of 2014, which used air plants and Mylar to reference Walter de Maria’s 1977 New York Earth Room. Everyone wants to peer inside a closed box. Even the most blasé person is vulnerable to this provocation. I once showed it to a couple of hard-boiled Chicago cops who could not resist. They wanted to look even as one of them warned, “It better not be a bomb.”
Above, from left to right. Top row: Untitled (Aerophyte) by Erin Washington, 2014; a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago facilitates an engagement with Clutch; Microcosmic Orbit by Patrick McGee, 2013. Bottom row: Eternity of the Present by Marcos Raya, 2013; Nuts by Scott Wolniak, 2014; Desserting the Center by Jessica Hyatt, 2013.