Posted August 26, 2011

Tyler takes a new approach to gallery programming

Photo by Joseph V. Labolito
New director of public programming and exhibits Robert Blackson

This year Temple Gallery will redefine the traditional gallery space.

 Instead of putting up one static exhibit at a time, the gallery will offer a more fluid approach to the arts through a rotating schedule of exhibits, coupled with lectures, film screenings and community forums on topics ranging from HIV to sustainability.

 “We will engage with these issues the same way two people of mutual respect would enter a conversation," said Robert Blackson, director of exhibitions and galleries at Tyler School of Art. "Therefore, there is no way of knowing when or how our commitment to these questions will end. It is a process of becoming. The extent of community involvement in these questions will be the deciding factor on how long we continue to develop an issue’s programming.”

 In order to create a diverse offering, topics for fall gallery exhibitions were chosen by a voluntary advisory council of community leaders who met monthly to discuss and vote on topics of local and national relevance. Their selections became the foundation on which Blackson developed his programming schedule.

 “These urgent concerns provide an expansive model for engaging the social function of art,” said Blackson. “Regardless if it was made two weeks or two centuries ago, great art changes the way we see ourselves in relation to each other and our contemporary circumstances.”

 The physical space will also undergo several changes. In an attempt to remove all boundaries, Blackson is replacing the front desk with a comfortable couch were a student docent will sit, eager to answer questions and have one-on-one exchanges with gallery visitors.

 Throughout the year the gallery will change in order to facilitate the rotating exhibits and events.

 “For each new topic the Tyler gallery will be transformed into a space for conversation and learning,” said Blackson. “Each time a new discussion starts, the structures will be rebuilt in to a totally different space.”