Delight Someone (Everyone)

©2014 Senga Nengudi, Jive. Site installation for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

A few years ago, I had the joy of hearing Senga Nengudi talk about her art in a gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver surrounded by the work.

Nengudi makes intimate installations and sculptures from discarded materials such as torn pantyhose. It started when she was living in a small space in New York and decided on a medium that would fit into her purse. (Further proof that making art is about solving problems, but that’s another topic.)

During a panel discussion, Nengudi warmed everyone in the room with her gentle, generous spirit and big smile.

When we (about 100 of us) were getting ready to leave, the artist said she wanted to give us a gift to remember her by. In line with her work, which transforms unwanted items into art, she considered a gift that we could transform into something new.

She confessed that she didn’t have enough pantyhose for the audience. We laughed! Many, particularly the men, breathed a sigh of relief.

That’s when she pulled out a large plastic bag and handed out . . .

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Presentation Tips for Your Art Talk

I recently helped Rob, my husband, with a presentation he was preparing on the topic of virtual reality.

Now, he’s a smart guy. He has a Ph.D. in mathematical physics, so he wasn’t asking me what I thought about his virtual reality angle. He had that covered.

He was seeking tips on how to take what he knew and massage it into a better presentation.

Here’s some advice I gave him, which might serve you.

Make It Visual

Bullet points are okay when your audience needs to write something down and remember it later. Otherwise, opt for visuals.

I use images as much as possible, but sometimes I make fun graphics out of words – sticking to my branding, of course.

You’re lucky! You so have this because your topic is inherently visual.

Most artists need only

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When The Thought Of Talking About Your Art Makes You Cringe

Most artists I know cringe at the thought of doing an artist talk. This is what they tell me: I’m not a performer! I’m not a public speaker! I don’t want to explain what my art is about! I don’t know what to talk about! I don’t think it will make sense! I don’t have anything to wear! The list of objections goes on and on.

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Multiply Your Exhibition Audience with Collaborative Programs

Jill Powers’ piece, Color in a Changing Forest, in a Live Motion performance. Photo by David Silver.

We were pitched exhibition ideas daily when I worked in art museums. When trying to decide on an exhibition schedule, we considered things such as funding sources, gallery space, scholarship, budget needs, and audience interest. But one of our biggest concerns was always: Can we program this?

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