Saturday, October 31, 2009

Emma Thompson

A quick thought.

I just heard on NPR this morning that Emma Thompson is bringing an exhibit to Washington Square in New York. It's about a woman's journey through the sex trade from Moldova to London. Thompson worked with the woman, Elena, to put together this exhibit called Journey which has already spent some time in Trafalgar Square in London. I have many thoughts about this and really want to see the exhibit. However, the thing that struck me most was that the interviewer ended his talk with Thompson by calling her project an "art installation." The entire way through the interview I had been thinking, "Cool! Emma Thompson is doing a traveling exhibit!" It did not even occur to me that someone might interpret it as an art installation.

So the question remains: art installation or exhibit? Is there a difference and does it matter? Is the interpretation of an exhibit as important to consider as the interpretation in the exhibit?

And, for those interested, a link to the NPR story:


  1. I too was shocked to hear her call it an art installation and not an exhibit. It sounds very much in the exhibit sort of category. Perhaps she went with art installation to sound more hip.

  2. Hipness is definitely something people like to have. Maybe "exhibit" sounds too stuffy and "educational" and she thought it might scare people away. "Art installation" sounds more cutting edge. It's disappointing to me, though, that she chose to go that route because "exhibits" people are always looking for new, exciting, even avant-garde ways to engage visitors. But, alas, not much I can do about it. :-)