A GENEROUS MEDIUM
Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Mined from the Davis Museum
's extensive photographic holdings, A Generous Medium: Photography at Wellesley 1972-2012
features works selected for written interpretation by directors, curators, faculty, alumnae, and patrons who have shaped the collection over the last forty years. The selections are organized unconventionally, by date of acquisition, to allow for revealing juxtapositions, surprising connections, and startling revelations.
To multiply the effects of serendipitous adjacencies and to maximize the legibility of the collection as a whole, R+L composed the works salon-style in a single, continuous loop around the gallery's perimeter. R+L set the exhibition/timeline start coincident with a sectional shift in the gallery, such that the smaller early acquired works, beginning with Eugène Atget's L’Éclipse
, are arrayed in the lower, more intimate east gallery and later, larger acquisitions emerge into the higher space, starting with Annette Lemieux's Silencing Sound
and ending with Cindy Sherman's Untitled (Bus Riders)
. The exhibition curator frames the works with the narrative of their acquisition and RLA responded to this conceit by radically enlarging excerpts from the texts and framing them as part of the overall composition of works.
R+L foregrounds the acquisition narrative through an overhead text cloud of text excerpts through which the works are first viewed at the gallery's elevated entry. A 52' long reference bench was designed for the gallery to guide perimeter circulation, reinforce the curatorial organization, and to encourage longer contemplation of the works.
Simon Ng, Jordan Prosser, design team
Graphic Design/Exhibition: R+L.
Graphic Design/Catalog: Base Design, New York.
Organized for the Davis by Lucy Flint, with Lisa Fischman.