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