During our class trip to the Dorsky Museum I discovered the complexity of curating a collection. The artist Eugene Speicher’s paintings were being displayed in the older exhibit of the two seemed to have a very intricately organized display of his work. As is expressed in the brochure, the pieces that were present in the exhibit seemed to highlight the course of his artistic career.
In one section, there were a series of large portraits of people who held some sort of prestigious reputation in one aspect or another. The brochure conveniently mentions that in the 1920’s he abandoned his commissioned portraiture and began painting “more personal subjects, mainly flower still-lifes, landscapes, and figurative compositions.” In a separate area of the exhibit from the portraits there were a series of these still-life flower and landscape paintings and the remaining section of Eugene Speicher’s works was dedicated to the figurative compositions. In the final section I noticed a trend of subject matter in regards to the order they were being presented to any given audience.
The room furthest from the entrance to the museum also portrayed work that was entirely disconnected with the previously mentioned featured artist. In this part of the exhibit, a series of paintings from the 1980’s were on display. In contrast with the first exhibit of paintings, which focused on the work of one artist over an extended period of time (a whole career’s worth of time you might say) this exhibit featured a series of artists from a specific point in time. As you went from one painting to the next the level of abstractness in each piece remained the same but the expressions of each artist stood out in a way that made each individual style unique and separate.
The second museum collection from Mary Reid Kelley (across the hall from the previously mentioned exhibits) also portrayed an extreme level of curating. It was hard to decipher exactly what the artist was trying to evoke in the onlooker in regards to the organization but the objects and videos being displayed were all interconnected with each other. All the objects/props were displayed in such a way that the screens playing videos on them incorporated all the objects that were nearby. There were three screens and the objects, costumes, masks, and pictures (of scenes and portraits of characters in the videos) were located in near the screens in which the videos were being shown. The largest of the three screens was set up as a small movie theater and created a sense of horror and awe, as seemed to be the intent of the artist based on the creepiness of everything else that was being exhibited.