Michael Freborg has been researching artists at the Barrick for the past three months. He spent a lot of time at a desk in the (recently-deinstalled) Preservation exhibition, so we asked him what he thought about while he was sitting there. He considered the question for a while and gave us this.
As I sit working on my laptop, I find myself surrounded by creativity. Artwork in various forms is strategically placed throughout the sprawling museum hall. Giant photographs of pyramids and rotated land mass illustrations adorn the white walls of the East Gallery. On the other side, a strange-looking object made of wicker hangs beside a sketch of itself. Smooth marble blocks, slide projections, and monitors with videos playing on them are all within sight or earshot of me. In the Braunstein Gallery, wooden masks from 20th century Mexico rest behind glass. And in the West Gallery, a small ceramic dog from ancient Colima is displayed next to a row of large white rocks. The 2,200 year-old Mexican artifact almost seems out of place with the rest of the modern artwork. And I, myself, type words onto a white computer screen, hoping to fill my own canvas with a story. This is what art is to me – the use of a medium to tell a story about the world. It does not matter what your background is. Anyone can create art.
Mary Cady Johnson used a variety of mediums to depict the time period she lived in. She even combined words with illustrations to recreate Harvard Professor George Wald’s famous anti-Vietnam War speech. Johnson believed that all human beings have a creative spark in them. No matter what medium is used, people have always had a desire to express themselves, to tell stories, or to mimic the world in some way. Mediums allow us to do so. I share a certain sense of comradery with the sculptor of that Colima Dog. Though we are separated by two millennia, and use different mediums to tell our stories, we share that common spark of creativity that Johnson talked about. The mediums may change over time, but that human yearning to create will always be.
The photograph of work by Gala Porras-Kim, Max Hooper Schneider, Candice Lin, and Ian James in Preservation was taken by Mikayla Whitmore.