Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Thousand Words

This is just about the neatest exhibition idea EVER. Last week a show called "A Thousand Words" opened at the York Art Gallery in the U.K., curated by none other than writer-in-residence and one of my favorite authors, Tracy Chevalier. For the exhibition, Tracy chose a series of paintings from the Gallery's collection, works she felt could inspire thoughtful comment or even a story. Here's the neat part: the exhibition designers used blackboard-paint and created strips and blocks around the paintings where visitors could chalk in their ideas. Tracy included some of her own thoughts in the labels accompanying the artworks.

According to Tracy Chevalier's website, the exhibition's opening night was heaps of fun, as museumgoers actively engaged with the works and scribbled on the walls. The response has continued to be huge in the week since. What a wonderful idea this is! I always wonder what folks are thinking when they are standing next to me in front of this painting or that sculpture in a museum -- in this exhibition, those folks can tell the world. As Tracy puts it, "I wanted to...encourage people to do what I do when I'm looking at art -- make up stories about it." Hear hear!

The show runs until 11 January 2009. You can read more about it on the York Art Gallery website.

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