What can you do to enhance a museum experience?
David Shrigley’s Brain Activity exhibition is now at the YBCA. If you have seen any of his work you know that it might be overwhelming for a person not familiar with his art to suddenly walk in to a room FILLED with small Shrigley pieces, and the entire place looks like a 5 year old kid just doodled on every inch of the wall. It’s dark humor. It’s scary honest. It’s pop culture. It’s human perception. And it’s supposed to be funny. But many people just walk around like they have a big question mark over their heads, and don’t seem to get any of it. They walk away empty handed, and that’s not the point. So how can you enhance a museum experience like this one? And this without ruining the artist intention… I know the whole point might be to be confused, but let’s try to help people out here. Enough with the museum snobs.
So first of all, here are the problems:
- People are chocked that this is called “art”.
- The museum environment calls for seriousness and high-brow attitudes.
- His art is, like most art, only attention grabbing if you feel a personal connection to it.
- It’s easier to laugh when you are with someone, not next to someone.
- Humor is about releasing tension.
With these observations in mind, we started thinking about the ways in which one could get someone to appreciate the simpleness behind the art and it’s message. And the only way one could do this is by trying it out themselves!
The result became a game, where you start with picking out one of the details in his art, for instance either the copy or the floppy disc in the image above, and copy/draw it on a post-it. You then pass it on to the person next to you at the museum, which in return gives you his post-it with his Shrigley piece. You then complete the post-it art by complementing the image with another of his pieces, and whoalla! You have now made your own Shrigley, that is personal to you!
We did this exercise and it was a lot of fun! I got the copy with “my entire life” on it, and completed it by adding the guy with the bucket on his head. That’s my entire life to me.
Why it works:
Post-its are a great medium because it both allows you to throw away a piece if you change your mind about a scribble, and because it reflects Shrigley’s simple playfulness. You could also easily post it on your wall/desc as a reminder. Shrigley’s art is much about a certain philosophy - one that you might want to remind yourself about.
By doing this exercise you interact with people - making it easier for you to laugh.
By choosing a piece of art you start by selecting a piece that speaks to you, and you make a connection with it. When you are given a piece, you reflect what it means to you, and actively make it your own. It could be more fun if you do it with a person you know, as you will then be able to guess what the person is referring to in his/her life etc.
Feel free to try this yourself if you visit the exhibit, and in that case let me know how it went!