By Colleen J. Sheehy
The richly illustrated essays in cupboard of Curiosities files the artistic techniques in the back of an install designed by means of modern artist Mark Dion on the Frederick R. Weisman artwork Museum on the college of Minnesota, a collaboration of museum employees, scholars, and assortment curators. Drawing from college collections, Dion and the curators selected 700 gadgets consultant of the state’s historical past, starting from a Bierstadt portray of Minnehaha Falls to Hubert Humphrey memorabilia, in addition to items that will have involved Renaissance viewers—such as mirrors and the world’s smallest plant—and prepared them into different types standard of Renaissance inquiry, equivalent to the Underworld, the ocean, Humankind, and the Library. jointly, the cupboards represented the college in miniature, simply as their Renaissance precursors had tried to symbolize microcosms of the area. cupboard of Curiosities deals observation at the ways that accumulating has undergirded the construction of information inside of universities and in Western society. Colleen J. Sheehy is director of schooling on the Frederick R. Weisman paintings Museum and affiliate school in American reports and paintings background on the collage of Minnesota. released in cooperation with the Frederick R. Weisman paintings Museum
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Additional resources for Cabinet of Curiosities - Mark Dion and the University as Installation
While this was a remarkably different kind of project, the tone was also not ironic, and the process, although taxing, was mostly a great deal of fun. Each few weeks I would fly to Columbus and we would march off to some remote area of the university armed with the drawing and a serviceable sales pitch, detailing why the curators should give us the time of day. ” While we were attempting to display the objects under the rubric of the microcosm, we also had to avoid being a cheerleader for OSU. ” This is why we altered the architecture of the entrance space and developed our curiosity cabinet model, based on nine allegories, arranged around a semicircular rotunda.
After you had produced the drawings with the detailed categories and articulated the conceptual grafting of the wunderkammer to the idea of the university (with its mission devoted to teaching “all that is worth knowing”), what then followed was essentially a series of tasks to locate objects corresponding to the declension of the argument as arrayed left to right in the nine cabinets. My only role from that point on was to make initial cold calls throughout OSU, armed with the drawing and your CV, and to find cooperative collaborators.
In response to our queries, medical staff claimed that they do not collect things. They may have been unwilling to share what they do collect; or, as one connection in the medical school suggested, they develop techniques, not objects that could be displayed. Similarly, our representation of the study of birds at the university was distorted because we showed the anomalies of the collections—the taxidermied birds, not the primary evidentiary base of study skins. As happens in much of Dion’s other work, the limits of our collection should call into question for viewers the completeness or the representativeness of our reconstruction of the university.