Ben Pederson, Gwendolyn Zabicki, Jaclyn Mednicov, Zachary Buchner, Mike Rea, Rachel Eng, Phillip Maisel, and Crystal Gregory
Curated by: Denise Joseph
Immersive. Experiential. Activation. Sensorial.
Ever increasingly, descriptors such as these are being used to express and construct the contemporary art-going experience. Trendy pop-ups dubbed as art museums are intensifying the tendency and lending to an expectation and misperception that to feel emotion or to share a connection with art it must be touched, stepped on, laid upon or even jumped into. In full disclosure, I attended one of these “museums” last fall as part of my research for this exhibition. I followed suit with several others as we awkwardly shuffled from one room to the next awaiting our turn with the art. In the hours and days that followed, I felt no betterment, personal growth or transformed perspective from my encounter.
It was then that I began to question - what is the role of art in a cultural moment powered by digital and technological advances, a moment where far-fetched ideas that may have once lived in our imaginations can cross into our realities as three-dimensional forms, a moment where the success of an experience is measured by how well it outperforms the last? We’re all acutely aware that the world has fallen effortlessly into the palm of our hands. A quick swipe right or left, a scroll up or down has created the perfect storm for thinking, rather believing, that there are no boundaries to what we can access, and seemingly, experience. However, it is this very unfettered access that I believe has led to a significant loss in what it means to experience art in its most rudimentary form. Might we turn inward and rely on the fabric of our unique histories, experiences and memories to locate and nurture an emotional and sensorial response to art in our presence, minus any tangible engagement?