Sarah Ganz Blythe (Deputy Director, Exhibitions, Education & Programs Museum Education, RISD Museum), is presenting at the Louisiana Museum, Denmark. Between the Discursive and the Immersive addresses research in 21st century art museums.
What is the place of historical art and design in the production of new knowledge and bodies of work? How do we continue to discover, attend to, and channel the network of ideas works of art help frame? How can works of art be active objects?
A museum situated within an art and design school offers a particularly compelling framework through which to address these questions. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum, at once academic and public, historical and contemporary, has developed an object-based interpretive approach inflected by studio practice and artistic processes. For an artist or designer, to be in a museum is to be in the company of forefathers and matriarchs, idols and rivals. Sharing space with their artistic ancestors and their public, artists collaborate with the museum in a dynamic reflection of the creative process, making it a generative place for research and exploration. A single object serves as a potent and multivalent site from which artists and designers develop relationships to history that are physical, interconnected, and creative. Here the work of art acts as a pedagogical model, or tool, that wrenches open previously unknown bodies of knowledge and processes that leads to new paths of inquiry and making. Rather than perpetuate the dual address that separates the artist from the public, the museum beings to act uncharacteristically as a third space where artists work in productive company with the public for whom they create, and these audiences are asked to be similarly curious and creative.
This practice-based contribution will offer examples of exhibitions and programs that merge studio and gallery, research and making, the discursive and immersive. Through these models, the museum becomes a generative space where authority is shared and knowledge and understanding creatively expands through the formation of interpretive communities.