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Rethink What Can Happen in a Museum: Portland Art Museum’s Shine a Light | Art Museum Teaching
"“Art is a space, which we have created, where we can cease to subscribe to the demands and the rules of society; it is a space where we can pretend. We can play, we can rethink things, we can think about them backwards.” —Pablo Helguera

As museums face the current challenges to drive relevance through becoming more active, participatory, responsive, and community-based, projects such as the ones explored in this past week’s posts indicate a potentially transformative role for artists to play. Whether rethinking a museum’s visitor experience, reinventing the public spaces of and around museums, drawing on creative practice to break museums’ ‘old habits,’ or interrogating the internal culture and working of the museum, artists are effectively exploring museum institutions as sites with a distinct “possibility for evolution,” to reconnect with the powerful words from Joseph Beuys that opened this series of posts (and from which the title of my paper came).

As the second International Museum Forum wraps up here in Yeongwol County, South Korea, I wanted to post this final excerpt from my paper, discussing the artist-driven program I am directly involved in here at the Portland Art Museum. In addition, I’m concluding this post with some of the “core, burning questions” that institutions involved in this work are addressing — especially as many of these projects are in a current phase of reflection and rethinking."



"Inspired by the Machine Project’s Field Guide to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art one-day event in November 2008 as well as the broader approach and process of social practice art, the team at the Portland Art Museum and PSU launched the first Shine a Light event in September 2009. For six hours, the museum was a space in which sixteen artists enacted projects that offered visitors new, unanticipated, playful and provocative ways to experience the museum.  The goals established during this first event—which have remained the core goals for this project up through the most recent Shine a Light event in 2013—included:

• Situate art (producing, interpreting, enjoying, puzzling over) as a living activity that everyone can participate in.
• Encourage an atmosphere of participation between the museum, its visitors, and artists.
• Make the museum a “site” of artistic production and practice.
• Inspire inquiry into the connection between art and everyday life.
• Have fun!

Artist-led projects that have been part of Shine a Light since 2009 have ranged from live Greco-Roman nude wrestling, a museum cookbook, dead artist seances, and haircuts inspired by artworks in the collection to inviting visitors to have a work of art tattooed onto their body, to sing songs about a work of art, or to display their personal cell phone photos within the museum’s photography collection."



"At the Open Engagement panel discussion, the top questions were revealed and discussed, and I think perhaps it is an appropriate way to end this paper by simply presenting these and other questions that are now sparking some open thinking in the field across institutions.

• Are we doing this work to broaden our audiences or to serve existing audiences?
• What’s the difference between an artist doing this work versus a public engagement or education department doing it?
• What does success look like? How do we measure success?
• What happens when institutions collaborate with artists? How can the questions artists ask reshape us as practitioners and reshape the museum itself?

Many of the answers to these and other questions are localized to each project and institution (some have even been addressed above by existing projects), yet certainly some common responses will emerge as institutions push ahead with experimental, participatory practices that open the spaces of museums to the work of social practice and socially-engaged artists, as well as museum staff that have been gaining a tremendous level of creative capacity through this type of work. Overall, many of these core questions bring the conversation back to the ability of these socially-engaged, participatory projects to effect change — whether that is shifting the ‘mindset’ for museum visitors as well as the communities that engage with museums, or a more broad social change felt in the community."

[See also:

Possibilities for Evolution: Artists Experimenting in Art Museums
http://artmuseumteaching.com/2013/10/14/artists-experimenting-in-art-museums/

Blurring the Lines: Walker Art Center’s Open Field
http://artmuseumteaching.com/2013/10/15/blurring-the-lines-walker-art-centers-open-field/

Getting a Better Sense of the Terrain: Machine Project at the Hammer Museum
http://artmuseumteaching.com/2013/10/18/getting-a-better-sense-of-the-terrain-machine-project-at-the-hammer-museum/ ]
mikemurawski  art  artmuseums  museums  arteducation  participatory  2013  openengagement  pablohelguera  josephbeuys  machineproject  markallen  hammermuseum  lacma  everyday  portlandartmuseum 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Open Engagement | Art + Social Practice
"Open Engagement is an international conference that sets out to explore various perspectives on art and social practice and expand the dialogue around socially engaged art making. The Open Engagement conference is an initiative of Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration."
openengagement  2013  porltand  oregon  art  socialpractice  togo  portlandstateuniversity  glvo  from delicious
january 2013 by robertogreco

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