In one of the videos we produced for the current Abstract Expressionist New York exhibition, Ann Temkin, Chief Curator of MoMA’s Department of Painting and Sculpture and the organizer of the exhibition, tells this story about Jackson Pollock:
Posts tagged ‘Ann Temkin’
Regular visitors to the Museum will have noticed that the fourth-floor Painting and Sculpture Galleries have undergone a complete reinstallation. These spaces, which are typically used to exhibit a broad survey of the Museum’s collection, are now home to Abstract Expressionist New York: The Big Picture</a>, an exhibition featuring approximately 170 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs associated with the movement that put New York on the art world map more than fifty years ago.
On one of my recent early-morning checks of the fifth-floor collection galleries—a daily duty of the curatorial staff, to spot any oddities—an elusive, visceral feeling gave me pause. It took me a moment to recognize that it was prompted by the wall color, which, as I moved from the European Expressionist gallery to the adjacent Matisse room, had changed from a light grey to what appeared to be a bright white. This color change is subtle enough to likely go unnoticed by many visitors, but deserves a brief moment of attention.
A museum’s public programming schedule is perhaps its most fleeting offering. Almost as soon as you hear about it, it’s already gone. Lectures, symposia, and panel discussions come and go with marathon-like speed. In the Adult and Academic Programs area of the Education Department, we are often thinking six months ahead, which also means that current programs exist psychologically for us in the past, while past programs are deep in the background of ancient history. But it is important to always remember the remarkable individuals that came throughout the year to enliven the Museum with their perspectives and debates, sometimes making history.
“There is no way to identify a work by Orozco in terms of physical product. Instead, it must be discerned through leitmotifs and strategies that constantly recur, but in always mutating forms and configurations.”
—Ann Temkin, the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, from the Gabriel Orozco exhibition catalogue
That was my first reaction to Ann’s description of Gabriel Orozco’s practice. We were researching the artist, looking for persistent visual themes, devices, or elements in his work that could be used to anchor or accent the design of the exhibition website. The works that I was familiar with at the time—Black Kites, Citroen DL, the Atomist series—didn’t share obvious aesthetic connections, so I assumed that a common thread would be found in the pages of the catalogue. But here Ann was saying that Orozco’s mercurial practice provided little in the way of overt physical similarity. And that, given a looming deadline, was daunting. More fruitful were meetings Allegra Burnette (Creative Director of Digital Media) and I had with Ann and Paulina Pobocha, a curatorial assistant who worked on the exhibition. Though we didn’t come up with concrete ideas about the look of the site, the curators did provide insight as to its desired spirit: simple and playful. Simple, because the curators wanted something that was easy to use and understand, and playful, because what better way to conceptualize a website dedicated to an artist whose work has included the customization of both billiard and ping pong tables (Carambole with Pendulum, 1996, and Ping-Pond Table, 1998) and chess- and checkerboards (Horses Running Endlessly, 1995, and Lemon Game, 2001)?
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