GAMBIER — An international, participatory art exhibition spanning 50 countries and 20 years — “Do it” — is now on display in the Graham Gund Gallery at Kenyon College.
Conceived by artist Hans Ulrich Obrist, the exhibition allows each venue to create original versions of the art works. Each gallery receives a compendium of more than 200 instructions written by the participating artists and chooses a minimum of 25 art works to create and display.
At Kenyon, a curatorial team of six students and the Gund Gallery staff had about one month to choose the pieces for display and then install the works. The gallery’s exhibition features works by 30 artists, including Sol LeWitt, Suzanne Lacy, Yoko Ono, and Kenyon alumna and installation artist Meg Cranston.
Lauren Ross, a student curator from Greenbrae, Calif., said the curatorial team sought a range of both art works and artists displayed. “We picked art works that showed the range of the different pieces and styles involved in the exhibit,” she said. “But we also wanted a mix of artists, a mix of the heavy hitters and the smaller names. One of the cool things about (the exhibit) is that a lot of the artists are big names, so it’s a way to get their work into a gallery on a small, liberal-arts budget. You’re also exposed to their work in a new way here.”
The specifics of the instructions written by the artists varied, Ross said. “Some instructions were extremely precise — down to the type of pen that should be used — and there was no room for interpretation,” she said. “But a lot of the others were very vague or very minimal, which left it to whoever’s curating it to interpret what they mean. When this was the case, we researched to see what kind of work the artist does on his own, and tried to find ways to stay true to that but also use our own ideas about what the art should be.”
The exhibit’s participatory nature fits well with the gallery’s mission, said Julie Leone, registrar and collections manager of the Gund Gallery. “We felt the do it exhibit was a great fit for us because it’s very participatory and hands-on, and you don’t need to have any specialized art background to come and enjoy it,” Leone said. “It’s also exposing the campus to artists who people might not be familiar with, and (in the case of Cranston) revealing to Kenyon what can be done with a Kenyon degree.”
The exhibition will be on view through August 25. For more information about this exhibition or the Gund Gallery, visit www.thegundgallery.org.