Abstract


Cramming Aesthetics, Art Appreciation & Education Into a Fun Museum Experience

Despi Mayes, Daniel Incandela

For the team developing Nature Holds My Camera: The Video Art of Sam Easterson, it seemed obvious that an exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Indiana, USA) could be both meaningful and playful. But that idea was one immediately challenged by experienced art viewers. Interestingly and expectedly, those new to art-viewing found the exhibition to be unquestionably compelling with its bold graphic treatment, video-driven installation and comfortable environment. Using technology both in the gallery and on-line offered viewers access to artist Sam Easterson and his work. Tools such as an in-gallery blog allowed visitors to ask the artist questions directly while the video installations provoked heated debate about the nature of art itself. How has technology defined our understanding of art and nature? Can a man allow an animal to direct a video shoot and call it art? Where does fun fit into the museum equation? These questions were asked, and answered, in many ways both inside the museum and in the community, resulting in a fascinating look into the definitions of contemporary art and how media and presentation play a role in viewers' understanding of it. The playful tone of the exhibition heightened its appeal for some while creating a seemingly insurmountable appearance of immaturity for others. This paper will outline the development and implementation of this exhibition with a focus on how viewers interacted with the work of Easterson in this unique museum experience and the fascinating dialogue generated as a result. See more of the project at www.natureholdsmycamera.com.

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