This week, I heard about a neat renegade art/museum awakening project in Providence, RI: Urban Curators. From their mission statement:
The goal of the Urban Curators project is to engage the public in the celebration of the decaying urban environment, recognizing its inherent aesthetic qualities as well as the important role that it plays within our cultural habitat. The project achieves its goal by elevating common, overlooked objects and spaces within the city of Providence, Rhode Island to the level of high art.
The project achieves this elevation by literally hanging gold, gallery-style frames in derelict spaces within the city, framing objects and views that are of aesthetic or cultural value. By utilizing frames that one might expect to find in an art museum or gallery, viewers are forced to make connections between the urban landscape and the museum environment. Viewers are likewise encouraged to reconsider their prior conceptions of beauty and worth, understanding that the spontaneity of decay offers an alternative aesthetic to excessive design.
Who hasn't seen a beautifully decaying barn door, a rainbowed oil slick, or abandoned shopping cart and thought, "Hey, that belongs in a museum!" Kudos to Urban Curators for eschewing the concept that museums are fixed locations and drawing attention to content in the public space. Hooray for the use of google maps mashups to locate their "exhibits." Hats off for including white foamcore "labels" on the "pieces." Seems like a great way to advertise and spread the mission of a museum to your surroundings as well, to demonstrate the ways that art, science, history are a part of the world around us. As long as it doesn't involve any illegal or perceived terrorist acts. Maybe it's a good thing they aren't in Boston.