Just catching up on Nina Simon’s Museum 2.0 blog, and discovering this great post about a primary tension in exhibit space design. After consulting and writing for a long while, Nina is now ‘on the ground’ as Executive Director of The Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, where she is bringing her innovative spirit to the life of a small arts organization.
At issue is the museum’s new ‘creativity lounge,’ a space within an exhibit hall that invites relaxation and self-directed reading or the like. The space also includes a jigsaw puzzle, which has proven a hit with visitors, but a point of tension with the artist who’s work is in the room. To Nina, the puzzle is a relevant point of connection for people in the space. For the artist, the puzzle is a distraction — far enough off topic from the exhibition to be distracting.
The interchange is well worth a reading. Evolving practices that make the art PART of the experience but not always the focus of the experience will inevitably bring more discussion like this.