Connected \\ February 20, 2019
Diving deep into Nature’s Nation
As a Fellow working in the Interpretation Department at PEM, my role has been to emphasize and support curatorial goals and create unique opportunities to guide visitors’ experiences. I’ve learned a key principle: What we don’t see in an artwork is just as important as what we do see.
In developing an experience for our audience to think more deeply about the environmental and human costs associated with those materials, our team has created “material deep dives.” These offer observations on some of the materials artists used in their creations. In this case, I researched mahogany wood, silver ore and turpentine in conjunction with a chest-on-chest set of drawers, a silver urn by Joseph Lownes and a painting by abstractionist Morris Louis. These interpretive moments involve stories of environmental destruction, rampant injustice against colonized people and health degradation due to exposure.