Mary Reid Kelley’s Dorsky exhibition

The exhibit that had the most impact on me during our class trip to Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art was Mary Reid Kelley’s “Working Objects and Videos.” When I first entered the exhibit, I was immediately a bit taken aback by all the strange objects that seemed like they were props placed around the exhibit. I then noticed the three different video stations set up, and sat down at the largest one to watch. I noticed that the objects inhabiting the museum were used in the creation of these short films that seemed to be social critiques of events in history. I began to think about the entire collection, props and film, and wonder about what Kelley was going for when curating this collection. Of course, one of my initial thoughts was that she was intending on providing a certain level of shock value to her viewers. Her videos seemed to have political undertones, yet they did not stand out because of the grotesque, strange props used for filming. I walked around and looked at Kelley’s exhibit and noticed that her two shorter films were set up on the left side when you walked in, and her longer film was played in the smaller room off of the main area. The long video was in a dark room, with only four chairs in front of the screen. I believe Kelley purposefully did this to enhance dramatic effect. After one has watched any portion of her film, they are forced to get up and walk through the exhibit of her props. I think that Kelley’s intention with this curated collection was to force viewers out of blind complacency regarding the world around them.


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