The Marcel Broodthaers Museum of Unfinished Art
Installation in the Art & Design Building, University of Kansas
(Paper, mat board, ink)
Collaborative project with Josh Meier, Melissa Sowards, and Matthew Walsh
The Art & Design Building stands out from the other buildings on the University of Kansas campus in many ways. For one, it is the only building on campus not named after a wealthy donor. For another, the interior is much less pristine than most other academic buildings, and the classrooms are strangely specialized, unlike the interchangeable lecture rooms of other buildings. Finally, the activities that go on inside the building are very strange: people actually make things there, with their hands—a process that is rapidly becoming obsolete in today’s U.S. society. Our project aimed to explore the unique, anachronistic nature of the Art & Design Building by recasting it as a museum of art. An alternative to the Spencer Museum of Art, this museum showcases art not as artifact (end product) but rather as an ongoing process of creation. We created small tombstone labels for various spaces within the building, and even for the building itself, to recontextualize these sites through the lens of academic scholarship, historical curiosity, and local anomaly. The building itself became an installation, a fact we emphasized by renaming it for the duration of the exhibition. We also labeled people inside the building, highlighting the dynamic and transitory nature of our alternative museum. The overall goal was to call into question contemporary modes of assigning value to art and art-related activities, and to explore how those values are sited in specific locations. This project was inspired by the works of contemporary artists who try to subvert museum and archival practice, including Beauvais Lyons, Christian Boltanski, Susan Hiller, and Ilya Kabakov—and of course, Marcel Broodthaers.