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.