Gallery & Exhibition Design: Critical Museology & Creative Accommodation

Fall 2022

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Course Details

San Diego State University
School of Art + Design

This course critically examines museological practice, contemporary exhibitions and artistic practices that focus on conceptual and creative aspects of access. Oftentimes exhibitions tack on access once the artwork has already been executed and ready to be installed in the museum or gallery. But what if the artists were to ponder access as an integral and critical part of their artwork? Can access be creative and experimental? And furthermore, can the curator and exhibition designer also fold access into their practice, while working collaboratively with artists, considering it as a theoretical and practical generative force that seeks to make an exhibition more engaging for a wider diversity of audiences?

This class will look at the growing number of artists, curators, and scholars who ponder these ideas of ad-hoc, experimental and underground approaches to access within exhibition-making and artistic practices. The goal is to consider how, through these nascent exhibition models and art practices, enhanced experiences of access in the museum can be a shared responsibility amongst museum workers, curators, and artists, in tandem with the public, so that access becomes a zone of intellectual and creative “accommodation,” rather than strictly a discourse on policy. We will look at case studies which provide a template for how access might be implemented by individuals, artists, curators, museum administrators and educators given the growing need to offer as many modalities of access as possible within cultural institutions. Museums acknowledge the necessity and urgency to decolonize the museum, representing the diverse identities and increasing needs of its patrons and its users.

The class will actively engage with the upcoming and concurrent exhibition, Script/Re-script at the San Diego State University Art Gallery being co-curated by Amanda Cachia and Bhavna Meta, opening on October 13, 2022 and running until December 8, 2022, where students will actively contribute to the design and access components of the exhibition, and engage with audiences through innovative and original public programming.