Archive for the ‘Inside the Museum’ Category

Peering Behind the Curtains of a Museum Exhibition

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

The staff of the Museum of Art & Archaeology is busily completing preparations for several new exhibitions set to open in just a few days. The thought occurred to me that many people will wander through the galleries and enjoy them without much thought to all the work that has gone into conceptualizing, collecting, organizing, building and displaying the materials. It’s not necessary that you do so in order to enjoy these wonderful exhibitions, but some people love to peek under the curtain, so to speak, and see the process as well as the finished product.

This website allows you to go behind the scenes to look at the planning and construction of the exhibition Art Nouveau, 1890-1914 at the National Gallery of Art. Although our upcoming exhibitions are at a smaller scale than this one, the process is very similar in each instance. I hope this fascinating website increases your appreciation of exhibition planning and design like it did for me…

Anatomy of an Exhibition – Art Nouveau, 1890-1914

W. Arthur Mehrhoff, Ph.D., Academic Coordinator

The More Things Change…

Friday, January 13th, 2012

I recently viewed Martin Scorsese’s amazing new film ‘Hugo’ (in 3-D, no less) and was struck by his masterful use of the most advanced film-making technologies such as computer-assisted graphics in the service of a children’s story about the early days and pioneers of cinema. Another popular new film along these retro lines is ‘The Artist’, a black-and-white silent film about black-and-white silent films, among other things. And be sure to check out Columbia Art League’s fascinating new exhibition “The Seven Deadly Sins (and the Seven Holy Virtues)” featuring brand new compositions on these most ancient of themes.
Is there an emerging trend here? In Atemporality in Action: Recreating Civil War-Era Tintype Photography, Atlantic magazine senior editor Alexis Madrigal writes about the “technological sublime” that comes from exploring the oldest photographic method, not the newest, while utilizing the most advanced materials and techniques (eg, videos) in the process. Do you agree with Madrigal that combining old techniques like tintype with new technologies allows art to be not just timely but timeless? How should modern art relate to The Past? Needless to say, a museum like ours representing human cultural evolution needs to know.

W. Arthur Mehrhoff, Ph.D., Academic Coordinator