To some, it it’s as literal as a love note or a photo of family . To others, it’s something as everyday and seemingly random as Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda. For the student body, these are the ideas that represent love last week in the Boyden Gallery’s Pop-up Exhibition, entitled “Love is…”.
The idea of the pop-up gallery format is that it is visitor made. A theme is designated, and then viewers bring an item they feel represents that theme, write up their own explanatory label, and put it on display in the gallery.
“Love is…” elicited a sweet, eclectic mix of items from participants. Some items are immediately apparent in how they represent love to the owner, such as a picture of three young women with a rhinestone encrusted frame titled ‘Second Grade Halloween’. “This is love because my family is the closest and most important thing to me.” explains Becky Archer in the label for her piece. Another picture, a woman on a beach entitled “Mika by Fullmoon Trinidad” by Tedd Fortgreen reads “I took this portrait of my new wife two weeks after our wedding”.
Other pieces are far less expected. A display consisting of sheet music by Rachel Buxton, entitled ‘Deh vieni, non tardar’, is particularly eye catching “This is love because music expresses that which cannot be put into words” her label reads, adding “I think Victor Hugo said that…?”. For Taylor Schaefer, love is the Golden Girls complete DVD box set. “Love is laughing until it hurts with my sisters around”. she explains in her description.
One of my favorite pieces is a glittery gold styrofoam squirrel with a furry tail, wrapped in a set of plastic purple beads. Artist Lena Castro label explains the unexpected addition. “My mum sent him for me in a care package my first month of school when I was having the toughest time really finding my niche.” Castro is also the student curator of the Boyden Gallery, and she herself arranged this exhibition. “I was looking for some sort of interactive art activity that would challenge the public’s creativity.” says Lena, explaining her inspiration “Instead of a museum normally providing the content, we let the audience decide what would be featured in Boyden Gallery…” Lena goes on to explain the range of items the gallery received for the exhibit. “…we got a great variety of items, some more straightforward in it’s representation of love, like love letters and family photos, and other more symbolic objects, like soda cans and boating catalogs. It went much better than I anticipated, I was able to fill each pedestal in the gallery. Hopefully this will set a precedent for further Pop Up Museums in Boyden’s future.”
The Pop-up gallery makes me stop and reflect on the things that contain a representation of love for me as well. Surprising things, maybe my DC flag, my Buffy DVDs, the school issued pillow that came with my room. The Boyden Gallery’s “Love Is…” has been a wonderful representation of both how art can be interactive, and how love can affect the way we see the simplest things.