Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying the summer and staying cool. It has been a hot and humid summer here in Maryland, but we are still working away.
In each of the rooms, viewers were given different ways of looking at art without even realizing it. They were subconsciously asked to view artworks as a whole and to deconstruct them. They were asked to look at how small details in one section influence the overall appearance and meaning of an artwork. This begs the question, what would happen to the visitor's experience and impression of the quilts if they had been paired differently? What if they were ordered numerically with the Brown's, TTT, and Poulson Slaver quilt in one room and the Airport, Obama, and Watermen in another? It is worth considering how that would change the feeling of each room as well as how it would alter how you would consider each artwork.
Not sure what I am getting at? Let me explain through a story from my past life as a contractor at the National Portrait Gallery. In 2006, NPG reopened to the public after a multi-year building renovation and reinstallation of its entire collection. One of the exhibition series the museum introduced was entitled Portraiture Now which highlights the work of current portrait artists. The first installment of this exhibition included the work of two photographers, two painters, and one sculptor. The sculptor, Nina Levy, creates portraits by making sculptures of her subject's heads which are then exhibited by hanging them at their actual height. For this exhibition, the museum asked Ms. Levy to create the heads of each of the other artists in the exhibition. These four heads were then hung on one side of the room in a group while a full body sculpture of Ms. Levy was placed in the opposite corner facing the four heads. When you walked into the room, it appeared that the sculpture of Ms. Levy was contemplating the four heads on the other side of the room. What does this say? Was the placement of these artworks meant to suggest such a thing? What did it imply that the four heads were men and the full body sculpture was a woman? What about the fact that she is the only 3-D artist while the others all deal with one dimensional objects? What does it add to or take away from the exhibit installation that the full body sculpture was not created for this exhibition unlike the other four pieces and had in fact been created completely separately from this whole process? What would you think if the full body sculpture was in the middle of the room and the four heads in the corners of the room? What if the heads were not displayed in a group? What if...? Are you beginning to see what I mean?
Now that I have sufficiently filled your brain with food for thought, I am going to leave you to contemplate. More blog postings to come and in a much more frequent manner. After all, I have pictures of the National Black Theater Festival quilt in construction to share. For a teaser, let me share this - after finishing the Watermen quilt, Dr. Gaither stated she wouldn't make another quilt that large. Let's just say the name Pinocchio came to mind when thinking about that statement as I looked at this latest installment of the My American Series!
By the way, only 2 more weeks to see the My American Series at School 33 Art Center! The exhibition closes 14 August 2010!