Setting the Scene for Seeing Nature

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View of the Seeing Nature galleries just after walls have been painted.

Manager of Exhibitions Liza Strelka snapped photos of the galleries where we’re preparing to install Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection. She captured the brief moment between freshly painted walls and the arrival of the works for display.

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Installation view of Seeing Nature just after painting the walls

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What will go on this blue accent wall in the Seeing Nature exhibition?

Changing Museum Rituals: Part 4

This is a multi-part blog post. Read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

Red Song collage

Visitors interact with “Red Song”

The last person I observed in the gallery with Franz Erhard Walther’s Red Song read the directions, admired the work, became very familiar with the piece, but walked away without engaging with it. I couldn’t help but wonder, why? When I asked her, she simply told me, “I didn’t participate because I felt I was too old. If I had my kids with me I would have loved to have seen them engage with the art work.” I wonder, does interactive art have an age limit? Art is created for people of all ages and walks of life to enjoy. When it comes to viewing art from a distance, everyone experiences it. When it comes to engaging with art, it becomes difficult to accept. Is it only difficult to accept because the rules associated with a museum setting? In a world where change occurs daily, how do museums maintain their traditional standards while still evolving with the times?

Although not all visitors choose to interact with Red Song, the existence of this piece fosters curiosity and conversation. Red Song is still on view, and you’re invited to join in the interaction (visitors are invited to activate this piece between 2-3 PM daily). Create your own personal experience through your senses of vision and TOUCH.

Gina Cashia, Marketing & Communications Intern

Changing Museum Rituals: Part 3

This is a multi-part blog post. Read Part 1 and Part 2, and check back next week for Part 4.

Visitor with Red Song

Visitor with Franz Erhard Walther’s “Red Song”

After trying my own hand at interacting with Franz Erhard Walther’s Red Song, I stood in the gallery and admired the true beauty of this piece that at first glance I hadn’t understood. Soon, two visitors, Janet and Cate, entered the gallery. After reading the Red Song text and checking which piece it was referring to, they put the provided plastic covers over their shoes and carefully walked over. As they began this process, I noticed how their body language changed. When they entered the gallery, they were confined and quiet; now they became curious, talkative, and lively, echoing my own experience. They removed the hanging items and draped them over their bodies in different fashions. Janet had turned what I thought was an apron into a cape, and Cate had taken two arm pieces and made an entire jacket. When they finished, I asked both women two questions: “what are your thoughts on interactive art?” and “what was your overall experience?”

Janet: “Interactive art is great. We (all) would like to touch more art. I didn’t understand it at first, but I don’t think you need to understand it to really enjoy it. I thought it was a great experience!”
Cate: “You are taught at an early age that a museum is a place confined by rules, but this piece is very inviting. It definitely breaks your expectation of what art is, which makes it fun. Being able to interact with it is immediate. You don’t have to think about it. It really reminded me of playing make believe, or dress up.”

I also spoke with Museum Assistant and Registrar’s Intern Jimin:
“This is interesting to see in a museum considering we have been taught to not touch the artwork. Overall I didn’t understand the subject, but I was still able to appreciate my experience with it. This whole concept is eye-catching. Once I became a part of the sculpture, I realized it’s three different pieces. Is it supposed to be one outfit worn by one person, or three different people? Why is it red? What was the artist’s intention?”

Gina Cashia, Marketing & Communications Intern