Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Friday, July 10, 2020

2020 Brain Candy: A Virtual Salon Series – The Curators

Vanguard Culture gathered curators to speak about how they were Dealing with the Pandemic and thoughts about the future of their exhibition spaces. You can now watch the two hour video or here are my notes from that virtual meeting. Susanna Peredo Swap was the moderator.

Megan Dickerson, Director of Exhibitions at The New Children’s Museum:
Website Link:
The New Children’s Museum deals with play as work and work as play.  Child will play anywhere. Their mission is not just to present a display but to work that display in an interactive way with the children and parents.  Megan found that you need the right people in the room for virtual events. Who is doing the story telling and how are they identified is vital. Think of museums as a collection of relationships and not a set of buildings. Go where the people are. She praised ArtReach which sent out pieces of a mural right to the kids and then brought it back to assemble it. You have to have some kayaks if you are a steamboat. There is a “stumble upon” nature of being together in a real space that we are missing.

Gaidi Finnie, Executive Director at The San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art:
Website Link:
The SDAAM of Fine Art has always had a Motivational attempt as one of the goals from the beginning and not just educational and not just one voice. The new virtual components are expanding its audience. With no bricks and mortar, the collaboration with different institutions is an advantage.  More young people are being motivated.

Christine Knoke Heitbrink, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Mingei International Museum:
Website Link: Silver lining, they were already shut down for renovations so will be open in Spring/Summer of 2021. They are able to stay on course but will be able to add touch-free doors, anti-microbial surfaces etc. They already have people working on remote locations with pop up shows. The transformed space is their new exciting project. Art of the People will be the new theme and the permanent collection will be the main feature. They are giving voice to multiple sources and being careful to be culturally aware.

Michael Lawrence, Assistant Director for Exhibitions at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.:
Website Link:
Certain things you can plan for and others you can’t. Staff resources are paramount. Security and members services are hit hard by virus. There is a caring for co-workers. Crowd control will be difficult. Only 5 people per thousand square feet feels much like the least visited days. They are using junior staff in T-shirts instead of uniforms for security. Their audience wants guidance and information. There might be a breakdown in who that authority is and an attempt to bring in a variety of truths and voices. There is a fine line between scaring the public and enlightening them.  People are very resilient. They can be more resilient when they make connections together. The Zoom format is very democratizing.

Lauren Lockhart, Art Program Manager at San Diego International Airport:
Website Link:  
Airports are stressful and this is even a more stressful experience, so the arts are there to help eliminate that stress. The Arts are now seen as second responders. People need time to accommodate new ideas and develop them. Conceptual ideas should be encouraged. They are working more with a wider arena via the internet.

Adriana Martinez, Chief Curator at La Caja Galeria - Tijuana B.C.:
Website Link:
Zoom and other virtual technology has increased participation which are much more open because of the platforms. Art is about those conversations and now the conversations are much wider. They help to define a viewpoint and now several viewpoints are possible. Going out into the streets has become the agenda. Individuals are in the forefront instead of institutions. Social Justice is an active pursuit. Seeing people in their homes on zoom does reveal another side to us.

Andrew Ütt, Executive Director at Lux Art Institute:
Website Link:
There are dichotomies: Education vs community and Physical vs Virtual. Zoom makes us quiet as an audience as we listen in and we go straight to education.  But we don’t have that loose exchange of community communication.  Curators roles can be lessened with virtual events if we let the audience define the experience. So, the question is: How much can the audience be engaged? If you are not failing, you are not learning, so you must build in the possibility of failure. Use incremental changes and be prepared to eliminate projects that don’t work. Change encourages us to be more creative. We question more than ever. The pandemic has made us more aware that we are one family as an institution.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Power of Art: Part Two George Floyd

I thought another set of protest images was important to join part one. These powerful visual messages are so important to convey our emotions (highs and lows). They document this time in history and more than that, they can help bring about change. It is appalling that some of these images have been destroyed. 

SHAME on those who would destroy and deface these images. They desecrate the memory of the man and they have no right to limit our freedom of speech.