This is our final week of our residency and we are finishing up the last touches for our artist reception on Friday night.
A very special thanks to everyone who has participated in our residency project, and those who will give their thoughts this week. It is your voices that created our content – the postcards, posters, walking tours and artist-led tours. Our participants are celebrated in our Membership grid of hands, which has grown throughout the month. For us, it’s the connecting link between the research from the map and filled out forms, and the finished artist-inspired interpretations of the collections featured on the postcards.
Through this month with Treggiari and Heilweil, we have been inspired to explore the function of a museum. Their month-long project entitled My Museum investigates the roles of both the art institution and the visitors that filter through it. The artists aim to redefine the boundaries of a museum through their interactions with visitors. This substantial participation of museum-goers will form the basis of the installation with the end result being an archive of community experiences forged over the month.
In correspondence with their artistic methods and residency, we’d like to invite you to think about your favorite museum. What made the visit so memorable? Was it the atmosphere of the gallery space, or the splendor of viewing a favorite art piece for the first time? As you consider your answer, tell us about your experience in the comment section below.
During our residency, we have been creating a series of My Museum postcards and walking tours for visitors to take away for free! Thanks to all the participants in our residency, we have gotten many excellent quotes about both favorite experiences and favorite artworks at the de Young Museum.
We are using these quotes to create postcards that feature a quote from a museum visitor and an abstract artist interpretation of their chosen work on the front. Our hope is that this extends the experience past our residency, and into other parts of the world.
The walking tours also utilize participants quotes to create another experience of the de Young collections. By bringing in the voices of the museum visitors, the walking tours give a more personal experience of the art rather than one that is art historical, or biographical. It enhances the experiences already present in the galleries, and provided by the museum. Each tour is thematic and features a subset of the museum’s collections, such as the sculpture garden, or a particular community of people, such as kids or museum staff and volunteers.
Stop by during our last two weeks of our residency to pick up a postcard or join a tour. And, of course, while you are here please participate and your quote might be featured next!
Take a self-guided tour: Sculpture+Garden+Walking+tour_correct.compressed
Walking into the Artist Studio, the first thing that struck me was how Chris Treggiari and Victoria Mara Heilwell had utilized the space to create an all-encompassing atmosphere that transformed the room into their own museum.
On one wall were the uniforms that Chris and Victoria, and sometimes the interns, wore while they were in the Studio.
Along another wall were the postcards that Victoria has designed. Inspired by a visitor’s words about their favorite artwork within the de Young’s permanent collection, each postcard had a bold, minimalist design, creating a beautiful, sleek look.
The entire room had been used in order to fulfill Chris and Victoria’s goal of an immersive experience entitled “My Museum” in which the visitor collaborated with the artists to create a museum based on the visitors’ favorite artworks within the de Young. Other features within “My Museum” included a tables in the center of the room, on which visitors could write down their down their favorite artwork in the de Young and the reason why they liked it on a card. Once finished, visitors could place their card in the exact location the artwork is located within the de Young on abstract map of the museum.
Once 7:00pm came, the main event of the evening started. Every Friday, Victoria took visitors around the de Young to see some of the exhibits that visitors had selected as their favorites throughout the week. At the exhibit, Victoria read quotes from visitors on why that particular artwork was their favorite. The quotes came from visitors and museum staff alike: the different perspectives from each person created a deep and insightful picture of each exhibit.
One of the exhibits in the tour was “Anti-Mass” by Cornelia Parker in the modern art section of the de Young. This artwork is made up of the remains of an African-American church that was burned down by arsonists. The fragments of the church are hung from the ceiling by thin, clear strips of wire. The exhibit is a heartbreaking reminder of America’s history as well as a stark reminder of the current situation in America.
During the tour, it was wonderful to be taken to exhibits that I had never known about. Specifically, the Sky Space, which is reached by walking through a tunnel behind the courtyard of the museum’s cafe and was the final destination in the tour. Within the Sky Space is a tiled circle in the center of the circular room beneath a skylight. When standing within the circle, sound is distorted just for the person on the tiles!
The entire experience made the listener feel closer to the museum, as though seeing each exhibit through new eyes. While this tour has ended, there is a new tour each Friday at 7:00pm. The next tour is this Friday, July 24th, and the final tour is on the Final Friday for Chris Treggiari and Victoria Mara Heilwell on July 31st.
Last Friday night was our first artist-led tour of the galleries. We had a great time seeing Ruth Asawa’s sculptures, wandering through the contemporary galleries and Wilsey Court, and finishing up in the James Turrell sculpture in the garden. During each tour we will be performing quotes gathered from visitors who participated in our residency. The tour adds the voices of the museum patrons to experiencing the art collections at the de Young. Tours leave from the Kimball Education Gallery on Fridays at 7 p.m. Remaining tour dates are 7/17, 7/24 and 7/31. We hope to see you on a tour!
Our mobile cart was also out on Friday night with Chris at the helm. Stop by to tell us about your favorite artwork at the museum, or pick up one of our postcards featuring our artist renditions of the de Young collection and quotes from the museum visitors.
Ever wonder what goes on in the basement and the tower of the de Young Museum? Now you can find out! As part of our residency we were fortunate to be able to interview various departments at the museum and photograph in their areas. In the “gift shop” section of our installation we are featuring photographs and text showing the behind the scenes of the museum. Who are the people that create the museum experience that the public doesn’t see?
Here’s a teaser:!
Artwork is wrapped, strapped, and stored when not out on display. Racks of paintings and furniture are ready to be rotated into the galleries.
The Object Conservator is a combination of a detective and an artist. She uses various tools and pigments to restore delicate works of art for the museum.
The cafe menu is inspired by the special exhibitions at the museum. Currently they have a menu inspired by J. M. W. Turner’s paintings. And, those beautiful flowers you see in the entry and in the bathrooms? Those are all done by volunteers. The Flower Committee had 55 members that create arrangements for the museum every week. They are a passionate group that strives to enhance the museum experience for visitors.
de Young Artists-in-Residence install their work over just one day, however the first day truly is just the beginning as the installation grows throughout the month. Repeat visitor will notice the artwork filling the walls, the visitor interactions growing in number, and the project developing as the artist hoped or, sometimes, in serendipitous ways.
We snuck into the studio to view the artists installing their work to see how My Museum gets built, documented here in these photographs by Victoria Mara Heilweil.
We have been busy in pre-production: building structures, painting, and preparing our visitor participation form for our Artist Residency.
Chris has spent many long days in his studio constructing the gift shop display cases, postcard racks, and information booth with an LED ticker. Visitors will be able to input their answer to the question, “What is your favorite experience at the de Young?” and the answers will appear on an LED ticker the next day for future visitors to see.
Visitors will also be asked to fill out this prompt card about their favorite artwork in the de Young.
The forms will be attached to a large, abstracted wall map of the de Young galleries and collections to share with the public. In addition, quotes from the prompt cards will be used to create personalized walking tours, postcards, and artist led tours. A very special thanks to Phil Spitler for helping in the production of the map, and the coding of the computer tablet interface.
Victoria will be creating abstract icons of the publicly selected artworks at the de Young for postcards and posters in the Kimball Education Gallery.
Please come and be a part of our residency project! We need your voice to make it happen.
Visitors—it’s time to fire up your artistic imaginations! Remember your favorite artwork from the de Young? Think the art historical labels don’t relate enough to your life? See a new meaning in an old work of art? This is your chance to dust off old photos and share your experiences to become part of My Museum, the de Young’s upcoming, month-long project turning the museum inside out and giving the collection over to its visitors. My Museum is Victoria Heilweil and Chris Treggiari’s residency project to reutilize and open up the Kimball Gallery and, through it, the entire on-display collection for the public to make its own.
Using questionnaires and interactive stations, the two artists plan to use the month of July to reconceive the museum through both its architecture and informational handouts. This will include racks of postcards reflecting personal experiences with the collection, alternate walking tours with self-guided maps.
By emulating the framework of the museum but leaving the content open, they’ll swing the doors wide to display your own memories and experiences with works of art at the de Young. Bring along the saga of your first school visit to the museum, last week’s confrontation with an African mask, or the epic story of an early American work’s impact on you. They’ll help refashion it into a crowd-pleasing, blow-by-blow account of the episode. Then, they will attach your stories to a wooden map of the de Young galleries and use your quotes to fashion postcards, tours, and catalogues. During the ongoing archive of these stories, new maps and cards will allow visitors to navigate the museum anew as a tome of experiences collated from both locals’ lazy Sundays and tourists’ treks through our collection of art history.
Victoria and Chris will also serve as a mirror of the museum by focusing on the oiled cogs and mechanisms that make the museum run flawlessly—the physical and intellectual labor, the janitorial work, the various booths and shops throughout the museum. The whole variety of information that is typically simply there, unnoticed, will be highlighted through a photographic and interview-based project celebrating the behind-the-scenes work.
– by Christopher Squier