Connecting with Art I
I recently saw a wonderful show at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco by Jennifer Starkweather and Amanda Hughen. The artist team interviewed six staff members and asked them to describe an artwork in the museum collection from memory. Without looking at the pieces described, the artists created abstract works based only on the interviews. Each work on paper is accompanied by the interview, and the show comes with a map to each of the artifacts in the museum.
This is a picture of one of the drawings. A Conservator of Paintings at the museum was interviewed for this piece.
I think the show is about memory, fondness for and a relationship with an object, listening, and connecting. Here, the Conservator had a previous set of experiences with her chosen artifact. It was meaningful to her because it reminded her of something similar from her childhood. Her involvement with the work itself is not as simple as an object at her place of work, but spans many years of her life and involves memories of growing up. The artifact at the museum was connected to her personal history.
To make art from someone else’s story one needs to listen closely, to connect dearly, and be willing to process the event directly and honestly.
The links, for me, in all of the components of this show is in the honesty and purity of each of the connections along the way.