Politics of Display & Representation Explored as

Re-presentations in a Virtual Museum
Assignment Specifics
(Due 4/3/01, 6 p.m.-10% of course grade)

 Art 3365

Section 001/501
 3 credit hours (3:3:0)

 Rm 201 AH

 Tuesdays & Thursdays
 3:00 - 5:50 p. m.

 Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd

 Office: 1003-F AH

 Ph: 742-3010, ext 256
 email: K.Keifer-Boyd@ttu.edu

 Office hours:

 Tues. (12:00-2:00 p.m.)
 or by appt.

Re-presentations in a Virtual Museum

A postmodern change in art criticism involves taking into account contextual factors involved in interpreting and judging art. Fred Wilson's work in "mining the museum" shows how using the traditional strategies of museum display (i.e., lighting, placement, labels, and juxtapositions) can reveal taken-for-granted assumptions (Corrin, 1993, 72-75). Based on the work of Wilson (Corrin, 1994) who draws attention to the politics of display, and the work of Chadwick (1988) and others (Parker and Pollock, 1981) who have written on the politics of representation, you will be asked to either (1.) create a virtual museum wing or wall, or (2.) to manipulate one image in a museum (i.e., a broad definition of "museum"). Fred Wilson has been mining museums worldwide since 1992, from Egypt and Poland to cities across the United States (Corrin, 1994, p. lxix). His goal is "to provoke critical dialogue so that museums thrive in the future" (Corrin, 1994, p. lxix). Changes in the issues and strategies of art criticism along with the increased use of computers in both education and society, have changed preservice training in art criticism to encompass postmodern concerns of context, display, and representation. Revisionist dialogue over the past decade has reshaped the discipline of art criticism. Thus the content of Discipline-Based Art Education (DBAE) has changed and will continue to change.

Project Goals are to Consider:
1. the purpose of museums,
2. definitions of museum audience, and
3. how decisions of acquisition, conservation, and interpretation are made.

Criteria for Creating and Evaluating Re-presentations in Virtual Museums Projects:
1. Distill, reuse, and reinvent.
2. Evoke dialogue through re-presentation.
3. Create contexts that are critical to the objects' meaning, i.e., the audience should feel the effects of the environment in which the work is placed.
4. Contest "universal truth."
5. Seek to question, not answer questions.
6. Expose hidden assumptions about life, history, the world, and art.
7. Create an experience that should be visceral rather than solely intellectual.

Two Basic Steps to the Project:

Step 1: Students travel the Internet to museum sites to view art within the museum context. Capture any image or museum view that you would like to visually manipulate to explore its meaning during the next 4 classes.

Resources for Museums on the Web: I have provided some Web site addresses in the bibliography that may help you locate an image. Or use this new type of search engine (http://www.ditto.com/)--it searches for graphics/pictures and displays the results as thumbnails. Other good search engines for artworks include: World Wide Web Art Resources; or an alphabetized listing of artists with images, info, and links; or resources and listing of sculptors; or go to category 2 of a website hotlist I prepared for art educators. You may find your image from any Web site.

Citing the Source: Copy the website address (its URL) on a piece of paper. (Or set up page printout to list the website address on the page--identify the image with a URL is to avoid copyright infringements. See how to properly cite others' work used in your work.)

How to capture an image from the Internet: When you find an image to critique, click on it with the mouse and hold the mouse down until a menu appears. Then slide over with the mouse held down so that "save image" is highlighted. Then let go of the mouse (unclick). Look at the top box to see where the image will be saved. Make sure the name of your disk or zip is shown in this box or else you will be saving the image to the computer's harddrive. Ask the assistant to help you if you don't know how to save onto your disk. Once you have saved the image you can print it. There are several ways to do this. Open your saved image (usually I open my images through PhotoShop but you could open it by just by clicking on the image 2 times) and then pull down the file menu and click on print. There will be an assistant at the front computer that can assist you to save and print the image.

Step 2: Each student re-creates a wall or wing in a virtual museum to challenge existing assumptions. [You will use PhotoShop software to visually manipulate images.] By changing the meaning you call attention to its meaning.

Some Suggestions for Manipulations:

1. Empty Space:
Ask who or what is missing or not represented? How would their (its) presence change our understanding of the existing work? (Refer to Wilson's empty pedestal example. Who would you like recognized as great by placing his/her bust on a pedestal?)

2. Reposition: How would the meaning change if you changed the position of the art? What if its back was to the viewer? What if two pieces faced each other? Would they give tribute to each other or challenge each other?

3. Overlay: If you overlaid an image or word how would this change the focus of what is important, emphasized, or intended? What might be the thought of the person in the painting?

4. Juxtaposition: If you put two things together that were not together in the exhibit how would this create new meaning.

5. Unexpected / out-of-context: Place a different face or body in the painting or place something in the museum setting that one would not expect. How would this reveal taken-for-granted assumptions?

6. Change the Label: What might the label say that would redirect the meaning of the work? What if the title changed? What would you title the painting?

7. Cover up: What if some sections were covered up to reveal parts that may have been taken-for -granted in interpretation of meaning?

8. Old with New: How would meaning change if something from the past was placed next to something from the present?

9. Spotlight: What invisible idea can you spotlight to make more visible?

10. Comparison, Metaphor, Analogies: Creatively use metaphors and analogies to illuminate subtle meanings.

Metaphor is an implied comparison between things essentially unlike one another to provide a better understanding of the situation. Ask: what does this remind me of?
Analogy is a metaphor made explicit by the word 'like' or 'as' to compare two unlike phenomena.


Some PhotoShop Techniques to Manipulate Images: ***Save several versions and keep an original saved.

1. Use the paint bucket to fill areas with a different color for a different effect. Fred Wilson had some rooms Colonial blue grays and greens, heightened the sense of violence in his red rooms, and refer to the African passage in the blue room.

2. Use the eyedropper to select a color from one area to repeat it elsewhere. Would the meaning change if the skin color changed?

3. Cut and paste with the lasso which can be drawn around a specific shape or the dashed box that can cut a rectangle from the picture. Give the body or object a new head or vice versa. Place in an out-of-context object to change the meaning.

4. Rotate, skew the image, or change the scale by selecting with the lasso or dashed box and then pulling down the menu to choose.

5. Try the various filters to highlight some areas or subdue areas.

6. Use the T tool to open the text box, write a word or phrase and place it in your picture.

7. Use the smudge tool (the finger) to smudge or blur an area.

8. Use the paintbrush or pencil to draw a shape that can be filled with colors. You can change the size of the paintbrush and lines. You can zoom in to see what you are doing.

A "Museumism" Genre

The Museum Looks at Itself or The Artist Looks at the Museum
(Deconstructing the Museum into a Space for Ongoing Cultural Debate)

If artists as curators of their own exhibition is no longer uncommon, neither is the artist-created museum or collection . . . These artists use museological practices to confront the ways in which museums rewrite history through the politics of collecting and presentation . . . However, their work often inadvertently reasserts the validity of the museum" (Corrin, 1994, p.5).

Some of the Artists: (Corrin, 1994, pp. 3-7)

Marcel Duchamp - (Fountain, 1917) - reveals the uneasy relationship between art and its contextual frame
Robert Smithson- (Spiral Jetty, 1960s) - transcended the boundaries of the museum environment & predicted that the art system would become a subject of art itself
Fluxus Group - (1960s & 70s) - goal was to subvert notions central to a museum's identity: permanence, posterity, quality, authorship
Daniel Buren- (Striped Canvases, 1968) -by placing his canvases in everyday contexts revealed the gap between art and non-art contexts
Andy Warhol- (Rhode Island School of Design, 1970) -curated an exhibition using personal criteria (mimicking curators?) - the more ordinary the better
Michael Asher - questions assumptions inherent in museum presentation
Judith Barry - (Damaged Goods: Desire and the Economy of the Object, 1986) - reveals the close relationship between artists/museums and the marketplace
1991 Carnegie International mnemonic museum - "one created within the memory, using an ancient recall system activated by the viewer" (Corrin, p. 5).
Andrea Fraser - (Damaged Goods: Desire and the Economy of the Object, 1986) - reveals hidden agendas of museums/society
Hans Haacke - traces the movement of art through the art world system (see Whitney Biennial, March 2000)
Louise Lawler - (A Forest of Signs, 1989) - context confers meaning on an object and our relationship to it
Orshi Drozdik- (Natural History - Botania, Tubuli (Naming Nature), 1989) - fate of all things to end up as curiosities
Barbara Bloom - (The Reign of Narcissism, 1989) - parody, reveals myths of greatness / of authorship
Christian Boltanski- (Inventory of Objects Belonging to Young Women of Charleston, 1991)
Sophie Calle- (Ghosts, 1991-92)
Lawrence Gipes- (Century of Progress Museum, 1992)
Ann Fessler- (Art History Lesson, 1993)
Ilya Kabakov- (Incident at the Museum, or Water Music, 1992) - "questioned the validity of painting, but affirmed the sanctity of the museum" (Corrin, p. 6)
David Wilson- (storefront Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, 199?-96) - a museum of museums or a postmodern art installation or ?
Simon Grenan & Christopher Sperandio- (At Home with the Collection, 1992) - reveals how the selective criteria by curators is based on personal taste and judgement by having staff members select objects to place in their homes. The exhibit consisted of photos of these contexts.
Joseph Kosuth - (The Play of the Unmentionable, 1992) - reviewed the history of art censorship through juxtaposing texts and objects from the Brooklyn's Museum's permanent collection
Mark Dion- (Sonsbeck, 1993) - placed static objects into a "living" space
Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent- (Rendez(-)vous, 1993) - Artists, Ilya Kabakov, Henk Visch, Jimmie, Durhan & Huang Yong Ping were asked to make relationships between the objects in mini-exhibitions using a collection of favorite personal objects donated by the local citizenry.
Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna- (Ten contemporary artists reinstall the permanent collection, 1986-93) - The goal was to "add a contemporary dimension to the viewing experience without self-presentation" (Corrin, p. 7).
Mike Kelley - (The Uncanny, 1993) - reveals the fetishizing of objects
Fred Wilson- (Mining the Museum, 1991-93) - wants viewers to feel an emotional response to the culturally constructed museum environment. He reveals how established museums ignored the histories of people of color, by using its own collection and its own history. He explores the specific history of the host institution.


Cited & Related References:

March 1996 , Art Education, 49 (2), pp. 25-32 (Instructional Resources on the Guerilla Girls, Fred Wilson, & Barbara Bloom
Chadwick, W. (1988). Women artists and the politics of representation. In Raven, A. , Langer, C. , Frueh, J. (Eds.), Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology (pp. 167-185). NY: HarperCollins.
Corrin, L. (1993). Mining the museum 1. In Discipline-based Art Education and Cultural Diversity (pp. 72-75). Santa Monica, CA: The J. Paul Getty Trust.
Corrin, L. G. (1994). Mining the museum: An installation by Fred Wilson. Baltimore, MD: Contemporary in cooperation with the New Press, New York.
Delacruz E. M. & Dunn P. C. (1995) DBAE: The next generation. Art Education: The Journal of the National Art Education Association, 48 (6), 46-53.
Gablik, S. (1991). The reenchantment of art. London: Thames and Hudson.
Johnson, M. (in press). Portrait of the computer artist: Between worlds. Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, 15.
Parker, R. & Pollock, G. (1981). Old mistresses: Women, art, and ideology. New York: Pantheon Books.

Calendar Denoting Process to Complete Project:
3/20 Introduction to the politics of display project with:

(1) Guerilla Girl video & discussion
(2) PowerPoint computer presentation & the following info & reference to resources on the Internet on the Museumism genre, Fred Wilson, and museum links. See http://www.art.ttu.edu/arted/syllabi/3365.html and click on Politics of Display project.
3/22: Contemplate and decide on an issue important to you and find images (such as slides, books, magazines) in order to generate dialogue about the issue. Bring images to class on 3/22.
o Students experience dialogue in virtual chat museumism spaces. Do the following steps at your computer to prepare for a virtual chat to avoid your machine from freezing or crashing:
(1) Pull down the "Apple" Menu and select "Recent Applications." Hold down on the "Apple" key and the "A" key at the same time. Drag the cursor to the trash.
(2) Pull down the "Apple" Menu and select "Recent Documents." Hold down on the "Apple" key and the "A" key at the same time. Drag the cursor to the trash.
(3) Pull down the "Special" Menu and "Empty Trash"
4) Click one time on the Palace software (a yellow smiling face) and pull down "File" menu to "Get Info." Increase the minimum and the preferred size to 6000.
(5) Click one time on the Explorer software and pull down "File" menu to "Get Info." Increase the minimum size to 7000 and the preferred size to 10000.
(6) Close all applications and windows. Open the yellow smiling face (Palace software) by clicking on it 2 times.

o Demo (if needed) on how to capture images off the Internet (hold down mouse & save image as)
o Demonstration of 5 PhotoShop techniques that students will need to use:

(1) How to open a new file with 512 x384 dimensions
(2) How to copy from one document and paste as a layer into the new document
(3) How to save on your zip
(4) How to resize an image
(5) How to pull down menus to try things and double-click for more choices

o Share ideas about the issues that you want to expose.
3/27 Use the ATLC computers, the School of Art computer lab, or your own computers
o Students individually explore the Internet searching for images and ideas
o Use resource link for directions on how to capture images off the Internet
o Students individually scan images from books or journals or other sources to use as your virtual character (the person should be an artist, art critic, or social critic-- or convince me why you want to role-play someone else.)
3/29 Review politics of display & representation project goals and criteria
o Individual help with PhotoShop manipulations
o Introduction to Hypermedia interpretation project (class selects one image to interpret)
o Check out prior year's hypermedia interpretations of Finster & Miro in Hyperstudio software
4/3 Finish politics of display projects by doing the following:
(1) Print 2 color copies--one for me to display & one for you (go to the Apple Menu then Chooser to select a printer)
(2) Print one black and white copy and draw on it with a marker where you want the doors to go to another space and where and how you want the hotspot to appear (give this to me by the end of class on 4/3)
(3) Email me K.Keifer-Boyd@ttu.edu the script for your hot spot by 6 p.m. on 4/3
(4) Make sure the size of your room is 512 pixels wide & 384 pixels high and your prop is 44 pixels wide & 44 pixels high
Pull down the "Mode" menu and select "Index color" & type in 236 colors by "Other"
(6) Save As "Compu.gif" and name the file your first name using all lower case letters and then add .gif. Examples: cherish.gif
Place your PhotoShop room and prop on the class's folder on the Instructor computer called "3365 Sp 01 ROOMS"
(7) Place your prop also in the "prop sachel" of The Palace when it is open by copying it from PhotoShop and pasting it into the edit mode of the prop sachel.
o When you finish the politics of display project begin to answer your questions in the multivocal hypermedia stack on the class's selected work of art.
o Complete responses to one work of art chosen by the class on your page of Hyperstudio -due by 6 p.m. on 4/3
4/5 Dialogue in the class's virtual museum using The Palace Software (I will be at Penn State joining you and students from Yuan Ze University in Taiwan will also join us. The free software is no longer available as of Nov. 1, 2000. I am working on another alternative so you can join from home. Please let me know on 3/29 if you would like to work at home and so you can test it before 4/3.