Friday, July 24, 2009

What is Contemporary Art?

by Sarah Crocker 

I learned much more during my time at CAM than I had ever thought I would.  In the past, when I've volunteered someplace, my duties haven't been much more than menial labor: move this box, file these papers, vacuum the floor.  I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that I would be doing more than just that at the museum.  We were taught how to handle and move artwork, various printing and other production techniques, and how to hang certain pieces on the wall (not to mention a little math on the side).  Peter and Shannon were willing to answer all of my questions, some of which were incredibly basic and not always the most observant (“So, how are you going to photograph that piece of art?”  “ ...that's actually a cart, Sarah”). 

Also, working with other volunteers and interns who were there almost entirely because of their interests in art and museum work was loads of fun.  I'm not trying to present an overly happy, false picture just to save face for some reason; I honestly enjoyed working with all of the various people who were involved in this project.  It's exciting to see how we all tried to make sense of this exhibition using our backgrounds in art, museum work, English, anthropology, the humanities, and more.  I know I can always use a few new perspectives that aren't grounded in the social sciences.

This definitely isn't going to be goodbye for me.  This project has only served to further my interests in museum work and, schedule allowing, I plan to continue working at CAM as a volunteer.  I only expected this to be a way to take up time during the summer and marginally fulfill my interests; it has turned out to mean much, much more.

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