Thursday, March 19, 2015

So, so cool....

Paint splattered cardboard from  installation
As you know, I've been working on docent training materials for quite a while now, researching, writing, compiling.  These last two weeks have been the culmination of that work.   This week and last, I gave 11/2 hour presentations to the docents about the upcoming exhibition at the KMA -- A Home for Art: Edward Larrabee Barnes and the KMA and Chris Larson:The Katonah Relocation Project -- complete with my script, a Powerpoint presentation, and additional background materials, all gathered in the docent folders.  Of course, the staff double-checked that I hadn't made any factual errors or misinterpreted the art (I'm happy to say they didn't change anything- yippee!), but they also gave me free-rein on what I wanted to write about within a general framework, what pictures I wanted in the presentation, the whole shebang.

It's been an amazing experience.

(1)  I've learned so much.  I've been immersed in topics I didn't know much about, if anything, before this process began, and now I can speak with a teeny bit of authority.

(2) It's great to talk about art to a receptive audience that's as excited about the material as you are. What a rush to stand in front of a group of like-minded, curious people!

(3) I've gotten a bit of a confidence boost that I can do a big project like this.  It's been a while since I had such a pseudo-academic project.

(4)  And, finally, I've been at the museum so much that the Director jokingly called me part of the crew.  The staff has been very gracious about including me in prep meetings and email distributions, keeping me up to speed on what's happening behind the scenes.   And, I get to be a fly on the wall next week during some of the final installation.  I'm learning from consummate and generous professionals.  HOW COOL IS THAT?

My work, however, is not complete; I'm going to be leading all the tours from opening night through the first week.  And, there's the potential for a little public writing about the exhibition.... but more on that if the details all come together.

I wish I could give you sneak peeks and pictures, but I'm sure understand that I can't give anything away.  But I hope you'll make plans for a trip to the museum to see this exhibit, the first one curated by the KMA's new Executive Director, Darsie Alexander, former chief curator at the Walker Art Center.  This exhibition will be open from March 29 - June 28.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Building my Vocabulary

Image from; artist not credited
I'm in the homestretch in the preparations for my docent training and I'm getting excited about heading to the studio.  I have an idea that really wants to come to life, but I'm working through the color scheme.  I know the quilt must include purple but beyond that, I haven't made a decision.  Shall I go with all cool colors?  A tertiary scheme?  A complementary scheme?  Maybe I'll fling fabric about the studio to figure out what works best.  But, being me, I've also been consulting my color guide for ideas.  Did you know the circular organization of the colors is credited to Sir Isaac Newton, back in the early 1700s?  I'd forgotten that Newton was interested in light and wavelengths, and had split sunlight into bands of color using a prism while still a young university student in 1665.  I realized I may have to do a bit more reading to refresh my memory and (re-)build my color and science vocabulary.

I've also realized I have a way to go before I have the command of the English language that I strive for.   I love books. I love the way they smell and the heft in my hand.  I love to fan the edges of the pages.  However, I never anticipated how much I would also love my Kindle.  I can read during my middle-of-the-night insomnia without waking my husband.  And, I love the dictionary that's literally at my fingertips.  The vocabulary builder tracks all the words for which I've solicited a definition.  I looked at the list today and rediscovered some words that I'm hoping to use in a sentence someday.  Here are a few; perhaps you already know them:

susurrations: whispering, murmuring, or rustling, such as the susurrations of the stream

moue: a pouting expression used to convey annoyance or distaste

oubliette: a secret dungeon with access only though a trapdoor in its ceiling

ocarina: a small egg-shaped wind instrument with a mouthpiece and holes for the fingers.  Also called  SWEET POTATO

12-hole Zelda tenor ocarina
I had no idea this instrument was still in production.  It might be fun to learn to play a sweet potato shaped like a Star Trek phaser....