When the custodians of the Baltimore Museum become curators

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has achieved great success by inviting unique curators to host an exhibition titled Custody of Art. A group of 17 custodians in charge of the security of this museum have already been appointed “guest curators” (guest curators). A way to let them reveal their own view of things. On the surface, visitors in these museum guards see only nearly identical men and women, their faces and eyes closed all around. So BMA officials viewed them as little more than designated employees most of the time to say “don’t touch” and to keep the public at a distance from the precious artwork. An approach that allows you to take a new look at art. “In particular, explains a detailed press release, these security guards spend more time with the museum’s collection than anyone else. We wanted, through this exhibition of theirs, to give them the opportunity to express themselves. Thus highlighting their unique perspectives and reflections Through the pieces they choose to present.This commentary is ultimately derived from the many hours they spent in the galleries, their interactions with visitors, and their personal stories and interests.”

exposure angle. Photo taken from the Twitter account of the Art Gallery Guard

A choice dear to their hearts and visions

Because contrary to what one might think, the members responsible for the security of this museum are not just a force involved in the event of theft or vandalism. Some of these “guest curators” had training as directors, musicians, writers, and visual artists. And they gladly presented themselves to the game of exhibition organizers, assuming all stages of preparation themselves, following the advice of the museum’s professional curators. The BMA has made available to them the works displayed in the galleries, but also those preserved in the preserve, this Baltimore institution houses an impressive collection of at least 95,000 paintings, sculptures, and various types of artifacts. After careful selection work and counseling sessions, the Guest Curators finally approved a set of 25 works dear to their hearts and personal visions. In their selection are the works of the great masters Jeremy Alden, Louise Bourgeois, Sam Gilliam, Grace Hartigan, Winslow Homer, Alma W. Thomas, Michaeline Thomas. The curators also revealed their admiration for anonymous classified creators, particularly from Colombia, Costa Rica and the Solomon Islands. It is clear that their passions and their paths turned the tide in their choice. Keelen Johnson, 35, a bouncer since 2013, explained to The New York Times what drew her to two authors who were part of the hanging. Max Beckmann’s Still Life With Large Shell (1939) and Normandy Landscape (1928) reminded me of the rhythms of African American spiritists, on the one hand, and the art of French song. And I wondered if these paintings could sing, what would they sing? I suppose in the secluded woods by Mozart ”, admits this young woman who is studying classical singing at the same time.

A guard offers his choice. Photo taken from the Twitter account of the Art Gallery Guard

Amin, a modern profession

Another of his colleagues, Joan Smith, a lover of both aesthetic and functional things, chose the Water Bottle, a work by an unknown artist from the Solomon Islands and the Bottleneck Basket by a Native American artist, also unknown. Ben Bjork, he loved the humor in art via 50 Dozen, a chair made entirely of pencils that might break if you sat on it, signed by designer James Hadley. These guards, who are rarely noticed in their strict uniforms, reveal their inner sensitivity and inclinations to various forms of art.

Determined to treat this exhibition like others, the Baltimore Museum of Art published a specific catalog. Rich in illustrations, contains biography of all participants and business presentations.

On selection, a chair in pencils by James Hadley. Photo courtesy of BMA

In this context, it was interesting to evoke the identity of the profession of curator which is considered one of the newest in the world, having been established under this name only fifty years ago. According to Stylist, the term was born in 1969 in the mind of Swiss art historian Harald Zeemann, who thus referred to the Latin word “curare,” meaning who cares. Thus he composed the word Amin, or the one who takes care of art. He wanted to release this title, and also give it to himself, after leaving the management of the Kunsthalle Museum in Bern. Schiemann is already tired of having to fight with corporation shareholders who have imposed their technical choices on him. He therefore preferred to become a trustee to restore independence in the connection that unites him to the selected artists and to the organization of their exhibitions.

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has achieved great success by inviting unique curators to host an exhibition titled Custody of Art. A group of 17 custodians in charge of the security of this museum have already been appointed “guest curators” (guest curators). A way that allows them to reveal their own vision…

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