Posts tagged ‘Museum Studies’

Cleaning the meat wall (yes, that says “meat wall”)

Intern Aubree Jacobs tidies up Adriana Varejão’s Ruina de Charque-Quina.

The ASU Art Museum is known for having some powerful pieces of social commentary in its permanent collection; one example is Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão’s Ruina de Charque-Quina (Corner Jerked-Beef Ruin), 2003, a piece acquired by the Museum in 2006.

Sitting between the Museum’s front doors, this imposing piece — oil on wood and polyurethane, although it looks much heavier and more substantial than that, as if it had been ripped from the corner of a building covered in glazed tile — is a head turner. For one thing, it towers over visitors, even the tall ones. But even more remarkable is the red substance sandwiched between the tile surfaces. Where insulation might normally go, the space appears to have been packed with large slabs of raw meat.

Varejão’s intention is to show the underbelly of Brazil’s rich history, and to expose the dark truth behind the dazzling churches and ornate dwellings of that country’s colonial elite: The economy that made possible such wealth and extravagance rested on slavery. A text panel next to the work explains that it’s about the tension between social convention and what it glosses over, and that it references both violence and the body without actually showing either.

Aubree Jacobs, a senior double-majoring in Art History and Museum Studies, is the intern in the Museum’s registrar’s office . The other day, as part of her museum duties, Aubree was called upon to deploy skills that she probably didn’t learn in college. Armed with a small brush, white gloves and a special over-the-shoulder vacuum cleaner, Aubree meticulously cleaned the Varejão, particularly those places on the explosed edges of the wall that tend to gather dust. It must have looked a little strange to visitors, but it’s all part of a day’s work when you’re taking good care of the art that visitors come to see.

August 16, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Re-Thinking: “Thinking About Re-Thinking”

During the course of Gregory Sale’s exhibition It’s not just black and white, the space was home to many lively discussions.

On Feb. 1, Gregory hosted “Thinking About Re-Thinking,” a panel moderated by Darren Petrucci, Director of the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University. The blurb for the event, which was part of the Museum’s “Re-Thinking the Museum” series, went like this:

“Is the museum defunct? Can it shed the elitist and colonial past? Can it be remade? Gordon Knox, Director of the ASU Art Museum, will argue for a new, socially engaged museum; Adriene Jenik, Director of ASU’s School of Art, will discuss the appeals and perils of museum involvement from the artist’s point of view; and Richard Toon, ASU’s Director of Museum Studies, will argue that the inherent contradictions of the museum are why it continually changes, why it must be continually rethought and why there is no such thing as the museum.”

Which is pretty much what happened, except that Adriene had to cancel, so Gregory represented the artist’s perspective on the panel and read aloud something that Adriene had written for the occasion, as well as offering his own perspective. And the conversation went in some fascinating and unpredictable directions, as you can see for yourself from the abbreviated version posted here.

May 25, 2011 at 12:01 am


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