The DeVos Art Museum is featuring a new exhibit that allows the viewer to interact using their hands and sharing their voice.
“You Complete Me: Mediating Relationships in Contemporary Art” will be featured in DeVos through Thursday, Nov. 11.
The act of a viewer interacting with the displays is known as participatory art. This is a modern way of looking at design and how it can affect the viewer.
“I’ve been interested in the topic of participation for a long time,” said Melissa Matuscak, director and curator of the DeVos Art Museum.
There are many events that are in conjunction with the exhibition that are open to anyone in the community at no cost, Matuscak said.
“We have artist talks, a film screening and a dance party planned in October,” Matuscak said.
An artist’s talk with Jill Frank will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5. A listening party with InCUBATE and Eric May will be from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, there will be a film screening and discussion of “twohundredfiftysixcolors” by Jason Lazarus and Eric Fleischauer.
NMU students and community members will be able to show their work of reconfigured furniture in participation with John Preus’ project. Music will then be performed by New Materialists using misfit pieces of furniture.
The last event scheduled will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, and it will be a poetry reading with Andrea Scarpino.
“There will be about 10 artists visiting from Chicago and Atlanta throughout the month,” Matuscak said.
Stephanie Bajema, who graduated from NMU with a degree in illustration and works at DeVos as a gallery guard, assisted in the development of the exhibit.
“When a person walks into a gallery they know they are not supposed to touch, but this exhibit is not complete without the users interaction,” Bajema said.
David Parker’s “Heartbeat Carillion” needs each viewer’s heartbeat to intensify the sound of his work. Four stations are placed around the gallery facing different sources of stimuli. When one places the palm of their hands on the heart rate monitor, bells chime in the center structure. Parker came to the DeVos to personally install his piece.
Another feature in the exhibition is the InCUBATE project by Matthey Joynt, Bryce Dwyer and Abigail Satinsky. This project allows the viewer to take a tape recorder around the gallery, and others after can listen to personal comments.
“It allows the viewers to share different perspectives on a cassette tape,” Bajema said.
John Preus, another featured artist, takes his work out of the dumpster. “Relation Prosthesis” uses the idea of structure with only partial parts, which are said to resemble missing limbs.
“My favorite piece is the one with upholstery stretched like animal skin,” Bajema said.
She is referring to another work on display called “Pelt #1” by Kevin Reiswig. It is basically just material from furniture that was recut and stretched like a piece of animal skin.
Christopher Moore, preparator for the DeVos Art Museum and adjunct professor teaching the physical structures course, installed the work for the upcoming exhibit.
“The purpose of the exhibit is participation and there are a number of interactive pieces that feature big names in contemporary art,” Moore said.
Moving away from some of the structural pieces, Moore points out some interesting photography that is featured in DeVos. Photographers like Jason Lazarus, Adrian Piper, Jill Frank, Jon Rafman and Nikki S. Lee are displaying their work.
Moore’s favorite collection is by Jason Lazarezz, called “Nirvana Project.”
“It’s a snapshot of a person who introduced them to Nirvana, and I can think back to where I was when I heard of Nirvana,” Moore said.
Nikki S. Lee created a social project around her photography where she dressed as a certain stereotype and took pictures of different demographics. Her work includes “The Yuppie Project #4” and “The Skateboarders Project #7.”
For more information on the exhibit, visit www.nmu.edu/DeVos or call the DeVos Art Museum at (906) 227-2235.