Two of my favorite exhibitions that I’ve seen recently aren’t exactly exhibitions. The first, pictured above, is the public storage at the Museo Larco in Lima, Peru, which I saw last summer. I saved this room for last, after meticulously going through the galleries (I tend to be a chronic “studier”), and it was an adjustment to go from displays that highlighted each piece with a pedestal, plaque, and nice lighting, to rows and rows of pottery. Rather than normalize the work, as you might expect from seeing so many, it made the pottery seem even more incredible and special. I always appreciate when museums allow a peak behind the curtain, something even more rewarding when the art is so tied to historical context, as this was.
The other not-exhibition exhibition that I loved recently also involved objects on shelves:
I saw the KIOSK project at the “Greater New York” show at MoMA PS1 a couple years ago. Formerly a consignment shop (and now an online store and a space at the Cooper Hewitt), Kiosk set up their international novelties in plastic shelves that formed a maze-like path through a room on the second floor of the museum. Each object had an identifying number beside it that you could type into your phone after dialing a given number, after which a robotic voice would narrate a little story about the object—where and how it was acquired, what it was, etc. I loved the way that the simple interaction—calling a number then dialing a few digits—elevated these everyday, consumer objects. I stayed for a while and could have stayed longer.