Politics of Display & Representation Explored as
||3 credit hours (3:3:0)|
Rm 201 AH
||3:00 - 5:50 p. m.|
Office: 1003-F AH
||or by appt.|
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 PhotoShop Techniques to Manipulate Images: ***Save several versions and keep an original saved.
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.