A few weeks ago I blogged about the Power and Pathos exhibition at the Getty Centre, an remarked that I was not very impressed, considering all of the hype. I was however impressed by the smallest exhibition on their program, and that was The Life of Art exhibition. I had seen bits about it online, and to someone who has done museum studies it sounded intriguing. I could not paraphrase the description any better than the museum itself did, so below is a photo of the introductory panel to the exhibit.
I really enjoyed this exhibition. As usual with The Getty, I was reminded of what is possible in a museum with a virtually unlimited budget (or so it seems so to the little fishes in the pond). It incorporated elements that I feel museums need to start doing regularly to accommodate different learning styles and levels of knowledge. Focusing on objects without the context of a collection of theme, allows visitors to explore them for what they are. The room was dark, which was great for someone like me who is easily distracted.
They can view the objects with magnifying glasses and investigate their details. Replicas can allow for ‘hands on’ exploration of textures. These features are great for visual and kinesthetic learners. The text on the Ipads ask the visitor questions that prompt them to find the answers for themselves, by looking at the object, and perhaps even to see it in a different light.
Visitors can easily use these stations with Ipads to learn more information about the origins and methods of creation. Visitors could scroll through the highlights, and click arrows to learn more about what they were interested in. Stations sit all around the objects, allowing for an almost 360 degree up close and personal view. And by allowing close proximity, people really feel that they can get up close and gawk (for lack of a better word) at seemingly unexciting yet really interesting objects.
I really liked this exhibition. This small room would be a great area for any museum to have, and perhaps they could rotate objects from the collections out of the space every few months for repeat visitors, and also allow objects not on display the chance to be seen. The experience is something different from that of a typical museum gallery. The Ipads provide that relevant touch of technology, without becoming the focus of the exhibition by being too flashy or too complicated.
Next time you are at The Getty, don’t forget to stop in at this exhibition in the midst of all of the other shiny new things, and let me know what you did or did not like about it!
Peace and long life.