Sometimes it takes a village to raise an exhibition. At least, that’s the premise of a new installation at the Spencer Museum of Art
featuring the selections of four Lawrence community members, each paired with a Spencer curator to create a show that offers fresh perspectives about how the Museum’s collection can be interpreted and presented.
To initiate Friends & Neighbors: Community Curators’ Choices, the Spencer’s four curators each invited a Lawrence community member to select an object for display from the Museum’s collection. The conversations that took place within the pairings of community and Museum curators identified issues and objects that had meaning for each guest curator. The goal was for each collaborating pair to focus on just one or two works. The neighborhood curator took the lead and set the tone for object selection. In response to this, each Museum curator chose an object that connected in some way to the work of art and theme suggested by the community curator.
The topics that emerged from these dialogues are listed below, along with the names of the guest and staff curators. One of the many interesting results of these exchanges is that the themes that developed are surprisingly interrelated, even though none of the community curators consulted with each other directly.
Here are the themes identified by the collaborating pairs of neighborhood and Museum curators:
Satire & Survival
Joni Murphy, Professor of English, Haskell Indian Nations University
Nancy Mahaney, Curator of the Arts & Cultures of Africa, Native America , & Oceania
Political Activism & Racial Discrimination
Lynne Green, Executive Director, Van Go Mobile Arts, Inc.
Susan Earle, Curator of European & American Art
Isolation & Connectedness
Molly Murphy, Lawrence Artist & Freelance Curator
Kris Imants Ercums, Curator of Asian Art
Repetition & Pattern
Reid Harrison, Artist / Lawrence High School Class of 2010
Stephen Goddard, Senior Curator and Curator of Prints & Drawings