Saturday, October 9, 2010

Click: Newark Museum

On the way to the airport to head to Ukraine, I had a bit of extra time so I was able to stop in at the Newark Museum, a place I'd never been.   It was a pleasure to see so many thoughtful labels and some very nice design elements combined with thoughtful interpretation.

First, the Ballantine House.  The picture at the top of the post is of an site specific installation by Yinka Shonibare.  I loved the way it integrated contemporary art with this high Victorian house.   Every room of the Ballantine House had three ways to access information.  The first was a story, an illustrated narrative about the house's inhabitants;  the second,  a panel that provided context on how the space was used; and the third, a series of flip pages that provided additional information on objects.  It was a great deal of information and perhaps looked a bit busy in the space, but I loved that you could pursue your interests as desired.

Some rooms of the house were used as gallery spaces and the labels in those spaces were also great.  Here's one about etiquette:

There was a small but quite beautiful exhibition for families about the relationships between artists and nature that encouraged close looking and an examination of the ways artists transform what they see into works of art.  This wooden puzzle-like installation allowed you to play with the scene,  while another installation let you touch rocks and compare them with painted images;  and yet another label provided beautiful context.

Interestingly, my least favorite exhibition was their most recent.  A new exhibit on Stickley contained beautiful furniture, textiles and other materials, but I found it a little staid and really wondered why main labels were both long and justified,  creating a visual that was very difficult to read.

But all in all, a lovely pre-flight afternoon, well worth a visit!

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