Monday, July 6, 2009

CAM is a Stage

by Sarah Crocker

The more I think about it, the more thought-provoking this past Thursday has been. Earlier in the day, I had talked to one of the other volunteers about how the Museum at Work exhibition project may be interpreted as a form of performance art. We (volunteers, interns, and museum employees) are a vital part of the project, whether or not we recognize this fact. If you consider this exhibition project to be performance art, in whatever significant or insignificant way, we are part of the art itself. Maybe this isn't a revelation for anyone else. I don't feel like a painting or a print or a photograph, but if people are visiting the museum to see both the artwork and the workers (or at least the process of moving and photographing the artworks), it's undeniable that we're a vital part of this exhibit.

When we're not in the museum actually working on something, there's little to see. This reminds me of the reporter that came in recently, after many of us had left or were packing up to leave. He stood next to the barrier, in plain sight of the camera and lighting set-up and all of the computer equipment and asked “Where's the exhibit?” I certainly don't think that this was a stupid question; instead I believe it speaks to the importance of our place in this project.

Another interesting thing occurred Thursday. When I first walked into the gallery, I saw Shannon standing in front of what, at the time, looked like an elaborate art installation. There was a large white board, a smaller blue box on top of that, and a strange metal and wood structure bolted to the side of it. Trying to play it cool, even though I had no idea what the piece was about, I mentioned it to Shannon... who told me it was a cart for transporting prints.

Initial embarrassment aside, it really made me think about others possibly faking an appreciation for art. Even more interesting, Shannon mentioned how a lot of people walk into an art museum (especially if it's a contemporary art museum) expecting that everything in the gallery is a work of art. This mild paranoia, combined with my reluctance to seem like a complete blockhead, produced a fairly entertaining result. I wonder if anyone else feels this way.

No comments:

Post a Comment