You may see a bearded man in an impeccable, salmon-colored suit sitting at the information desk of the Museum—you can ask him anything about the meaning of poetry. Or you may stumble into a dinner event where each course has been expertly designed as the result of a collaboration between a chef and a contemporary artist—where eating it is not only an evening of pleasant cuisine, but a Conceptual art experience. Or you may find that a prominent filmmaker, musician, or writer you admire has tailored a 30-minute tour of the Museum with their favorite works so you can take a stroll through the galleries in their shoes. You may meet up with a small group of people who share the same obscure interest as you to learn together, from, and with each other, using MoMA as a resource for your explorations. You may even work with an artist and professional actors to create a tableaux based on historical imagery from the Museum’s archives.
These are a few of the conceivable scenarios that you could encounter over the next few months at MoMA. Last summer, my colleagues and I in MoMA’s Department of Education invited four artists—artists who we believe are on the forefront of defining what art is, with a focused interest in public interactions—to collaborate with us. We asked them to join us in meetings, to learn about our process and our visitors, and to discuss what museum engagement could look like here. During fall 2012, they became familiar faces in our hallways, absorbing our conversations and discussions. Together we have developed a series of public programs for 2013, infusing their practice into our approach to engagement. The result, Artists Experiment, is a new initiative that engages the public on many levels and in many configurations.
Kenneth Goldsmith, renowned conceptual poet and founder of Ubuweb, the main web archive of experimental audio and visual art, will be our Poet Laureate—on any given day you will find him talking, performing, or working in our galleries. Check out what he has to say about this opportunity and the Artists Experiment program in the video above.
Xaviera Simmons is a New York–based visual and performance artist who nurtures her work from performance, collaboration, and political history—all of which come together in the participatory workshops she will be doing here inspired by the Museum’s archives.
Caroline Woolard collaborates with other artists and the public to create alternative economies and systems of support. Following these models, her collaborative project “Trade School,” has received global attention and is being replicated all over the world. You’ll see her this spring in MoMA’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building as she collaborates with us on our next MoMA Studio.
Tijuana-based Raúl Cárdenas Osuna, founder and director of the collective Torolab, is interested in the history of MoMA’s educational mission, and is developing an interface that visitors can use to follow a tour designed by someone they admire, or by other visitors who have submitted their recommendations.
There will be countless ways for you to engage with these artists at MoMA, but most immediately, beginning in February (select Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. and Fridays at 3:00 p.m.), check out Kenneth as he and other invited poets and writers choose artworks to respond to, and select spaces and galleries within the Museum where they will perform readings and texts. And on March 20th, join us for Kenneth’s first program as Poet Laurete at MoMA. Kenneth will talk about his practice and inspirations as a poet. The evening will end with a reception and book signing for Kenneth’s new publication, Seven American Deaths and Disasters.
And be sure to look out for more Artists Experiment programs later this month on moma.org/learn.