Arts & Reviews

Montclair Art Museum’s Interactive “Do it” Exhibition

By: Julia Lees

The Montclair Art Museum has opened a conceptual art exhibit called “Do it.” Do it is surrounded by the idea of creating within the boundaries of instruction. These instructions allow for enough creative leeway to make each art following the same instruction unique. The idea for it all was conceived by Hans Ulrich Obrist, a historian and curator of art. Since its establishment over 20 years ago, Do it has been an exhibition at museums all around the world. The Montclair Art Museum featured 27 instructional works out of the 250 possibilities.

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The instructions artists are asked to follow are seemingly random and the possibilities for their interpretation are vast. These instruction can be as vague as “Whatever you do, do something else,” an instruction by artist Claire Fontaine, or as specific as “approaching a stranger who you perceive to be different to yourself” then, “take a photograph of yourself with this person,” an instruction by artist Simryn Gill.  Not only does it ask artists to participate and create, but allows for anyone to join in. The exhibit asks people attending to add their personal touch to many of the pieces. On one wall of the museum, people were asked to write five book titles that all children should read, but do not exist yet. This wall is filled up with people’s thoughts of what children should read and experience.

The whole exhibit seems to ask a series of questions: “What is art?” “What can you do?”and “How is what you are doing different from someone else?” These questions do not have definitive answers which makes the exhibit intriguing and powerful. It’s emphasis on interpretation and difference of human thoughts opened my eyes to a new way of looking at art. Overall, this was a very entertaining and interesting exhibit. It is fun, interactive, engaging and thought provoking. Do it will be open at the Montclair Art Museum now through December 31.

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