ART//SHOW: A Personal Statement
Explore the exhibition site here.
The coordination and production of ART//SHOW were compressed into a three-week period. In order to produce an exhibit in so little time, the team really had to commit itself to the show. I feel that I was quite involved with the exhibit’s development. Our individual roles in the selection process were approximately equal. I was personally very active in installation; I spent many afternoons and evenings at the gallery making curatorial decisions concerning what went where as well as hanging and positioning works. I additionally wrote the introductory wall text for the exhibition. As the individual in charge of artist registration, I drew up an artist-MCM1700R contract and ensured that all the artists registered. I will also oversee de-registration of works after the show. I assisted Maria with two of the three work drop-off periods, ran errands for supplies, created a spreadsheet of finances, cleaned the walls and artworks, and helped promote the event via social media.
The process of putting on a show was really edifying, and I’m excited to approach Walking the Line with this experience under my belt. I came to the class with some basic skills due to my previous experience working in small art galleries. ART//SHOW, however, taught me a new skill set: working with other curators. I was surprised at how difficult it was to work with a team in a creative field; I had to justify my own choices and negotiate my vision. This curatorial group effort will undoubtedly inscribe itself upon my future experiences with creative teamwork. Producing ART//SHOW also put me in problem-solving situations (rare circumstances for an art history major!). I had to generate creative solutions to problems. For example, the team decided at the last minute that it was important to frame the piece Phalanges. There were no readymade frames of the correct size, and it would have taken too long to have a frame custom-made. We ultimately had to manufacture a solution using matboard. The skills I learned will have real applications.
Several areas of the show could be significantly improved. First off, the selection process was brief and somewhat injudicious. Though we utilized curation and wall text to pull them together, the pieces in the show were not very cohesive. In a class about curating, it makes sense to structure the show around a tighter theme or aesthetic. Partially due to time constraints and partially due to a lack of imagination, the curation of the show was somewhat uninspired. Rather than being integrated into the exhibit, the video pieces were sequestered in the landings. This course of action necessitated less effort but produced an awkward divide in our show. Repositioning some sculpture and installation could have really helped the flow of the exhibit. There was also some general sloppiness that could be improved upon; the paint on the walls needed to be patched and the tape used to hang the tombstones was ineffective. I look forward to approaching the next exhibition with greater reflection and attention to detail.
Above, a panoramic view of the Cohen Gallery portion of the exhibition.