The first exhibition of the 2022–2023 Gallery Season taught us about the influence gender assumptions has in our understanding of vulnerability, care, and storytelling. With a space design that emphasized accessibility and interaction, Everything Is Golden allowed COCA to explore its educational programs and its presence in the community.
Here are some of the highlights of Lizzy Martinez’s showcase:
The feeling of an antiquity’s museum
Martinez sculptures were made of “reclaimed materials,” an expression the artist uses to name fragments of wood, tile, and stone she recovered from dumpsters around the city. Both the pieces with the mythological figures as well as the copper walls painting added a sense of distant times that invited us to reflect on the present: Is the patronizing of women by the Greek gods an exclusive feature of the past? Have we already overcome stigmas that consider that male roles cannot be delicate and fragile?
The interactive wall
In the new direction of the Millstone Gallery, interaction, whether in the form of written responses or exploration of the senses, will play an important role. In this case, visitors to Everything Is Golden were able to experience firsthand the four most important materials in the exhibition: concrete, resin, wood, and tiles. With small ecosystems/boxes that allowed them to feel texture, noise, and weight, the interactive wall sought to challenge the limits of what is allowed to be done in a gallery and at the same time motivate the audience to be creators and active agents of reflection during the exhibition.
A Young Visitor’s Guide
Topics such as Greek mythology and the care of objects were conducive to the development of a guide on how to introduce art galleries to young visitors. In addition to questions to encourage reflection during the tour of the exhibition, the guide includes strategies to motivate and inspire children before and after the visit, in a holistic experience based on SEL standards (social and emotional learning). Download the Young Visitor’s Guide
A Day in the Arts Visit
Students from Compton Drew Middle School visited Everything Is Golden to learn more about curatorial practices and what kind of skills and training they need if they are interested in pursuing this path in their future. After a scavenger hunt around the gallery, they gather in groups to rethink the exhibition design based on how they wanted visitors to perceive their favorite pieces.
We are grateful for all the time and reflections visitors spent in the gallery. Here are some of the thoughtful messages we received during the past three months: