By SHANON QUINN
Washington State University’s Museum of Art will display more than paintings and sculpture when its annual Curator’s Choice exhibit opens May 20.
The exhibit, “Behind the Scenes,” will also reveal staff and curatorial assistants busy at tasks typically hidden by the proverbial curtain.
Zach Mazur, curator of education and collections, came across the concept by accident while visiting the museum of Science and Industry last year in Chicago.
“One of the most popular exhibits was closed for conservation,” he said. “However, instead of shutting out the public completely, viewers had access to watching the conservators perform various tasks.”
Mazur said in this time of technological accessibility, museums are seeking ways to be more transparent and participatory.
“By conducting our back-of-house work in the gallery space we can create an accessible and socially engaging experience where audiences can interact directly with the museum staff and student curatorial assistants,” he said.
Museum visitors can expect to see curators working with all types of equipment from hammers, screw guns and tape measures to Exacto knives, mat cutters and archival storage materials on any given day during the exhibit.
“Only one thing remains consistent,” Mazur said. “White cotton gloves.”
In addition to revealing the museum’s trade secrets, this year’s Curators Choice exhibit will display pieces from the permanent collection that include new acquisitions, like the recent gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Also new this year is what Mazur called a “Student Experimental Gallery,” where student gallery assistants will take turns curating selections from the permanent collection. This display will be changed weekly, Mazur said.
From “Behind the Scenes” to the “Student Experimental Gallery” to a selection of artworks by students and faculty member Arash Adel of WSU’s School of Architecture, Mazur said the media on display will span nearly the entire artistic spectrum and change regularly.
“Every day is different,” he said.
Quinn can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 883 4632
WHAT: 2014 Curator’s Choice Exhibition: Behind the Scenes
WHEN: May 20-July 3, Tuesday-Friday, noon-4 p.m.
WHERE: Washington State University Museum of Art