When visitors get close to Vik Muniz’s works at the Chrysler Museum of Art, they will notice the string, ketchup, chocolate and sugar in his photographs. Once they back away, the elements snap together into a coherent image. What Muniz is doing is playing with perception, which can change the viewer’s perspective. That is what Seth Feman, curator of exhibitions, wants.
The Vik Muniz exhibition, “Photography and the Rebirth of Wonder,” opened this month, but Feman started thinking of the show about four years ago. Presenting an exhibition is usually a years-long process.
“People don’t really know that it’s actually a really complicated process,” Feman said.
There are two types of exhibitions: A traveling show which is developed by another institution and brought to a museum or an in-house exhibition that uses the museum’s collection. Most shows need at two or three years to come to fruition, Feman said.
The museum created their own approach to organizing travelling exhibitions, Feman said.
The Chrysler receives proposals and the best proposals are presented to the museum’s team members.
The team members, “broaden the perspective and challenge us all to think creatively on whether a show fits with our mission or in our ambitions,” Feman said.
Once a show is given approval, the whirlwind begins of contract negotiations, fees, press materials, catalogs, shipping, crating and the other aspects of a traveling show.
The Muniz show required Feman to work with an exhibition designer and graphic designer to make a digital model of the space. Walls then had to be moved and painted.
The museum caters to diverse audiences and one of the primary goals of the museum is to connect. The museum creates programming for different audiences to invite different conversations.
Great exhibitions are ones that are accessible and provocative, Feman said.They are compelling and strong while also having great programming opportunities, scheduling, and marketing.
“The Vik Muniz show is a good example of that,” he said. “They are photographs and are of recognizable things. Anyone can walk in and they don’t need to have history of art education to come in and be impressed by the photographs. They’re arresting. Many of them are very large so there’s something exciting when you see it.”